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January 13, 1962


JAMA. 1962;179(2):158. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050020052009

Elsewhere in these pages Johnson, Bloom et al. describe an outbreak of Coxsackie A-21 virus infection associated with mild respiratory disease. Although their reports concern military populations, the findings are pertinent, in several noteworthy respects, to the general problem of such illness among adults.

For the first time an enterovirus, one of a large group of hardy (ether-resistant) agents of small (15-30 mμ) size, has been etiologically associated with mild undifferentiated respiratory illness, often labeled the common cold. None of the systemic manifestations of infection often attributable to certain other enteroviruses were seen. Virus isolation data also clearly suggested respiratory, rather than lower enteric, infection. There were major differences in infection rates in 2 distinct populations of approximately equal immunologic susceptibility—a finding that presents an interesting challenge for future work on the epidemiology of viral respiratory disease. Finally, the virus appeared to spread through the stable nonrecruit population rather slowly,