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April 8, 1968

A Community Outbreak of Mycoplasma Pneumonia

Author Affiliations

From the Gundersen Clinic, La Crosse, Wis, the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, and the Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Dr. Evans is now at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.

JAMA. 1968;204(2):123-128. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140150027007

An outbreak of nonbacterial pneumonia occurred in La Crosse, Wis, in the fall of 1965 and early 1966. Laboratory studies of 138 patients indicated infection with Mycoplasma pneumoniae in 66 patients (48%). Patients ranging in age from 5 to 19 years were most severely affected. Familial infection was common and the index case usually occurred in a teenager. The school was suspected as the source of dissemination but this could not be established from the data available. Cases were scattered throughout the city. Transmission seemed to require close and prolonged contact. Clinically, involvement was limited to the lower-respiratory tract with coughing and roentgenographic evidence of pneumonitis in almost all patients. In addition, seven patients had a rash and seven others had evidence of otitis media, one with bullous involvement.