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January 9, 1978

Influenza Mortality and Morbidity

JAMA. 1978;239(2):107. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280290027006

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To the Editor.—  Elsewhere in this issue (p 115), Gregg and his associates have addressed analysis of the contribution of influenza to mortality and morbidity in nonepidemic years by Albert B. Sabin, MD (237:2823, 1977). I wish only to comment on Dr Sabin's wish to equate influenza with all other causes of acute respiratory disease, as he does in the following statement:The attempt by some to limit the clinical diagnosis of influenza to disease caused by the influenza viruses and to dismiss the remainder of the clinical syndrome responsible annually for many millions of days of bed disability (exclusive of the many millions of days of bed disability attributed separately to acute infections of the upper respiratory tract or to pneumonia), is, in my judgement, unrealistic and counterproductive in dealing with the total influenza problem.It seems retrogressive to despair of separating the manifold causes of acute respiratory disease at