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June 4, 1982


Author Affiliations

From the Office of the Associate Dean and the Department of Pediatrics, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson.; Member, editorial board, The Journal.

JAMA. 1982;247(21):2977-2979. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320460077032

In 1932, Mietzsch and Klarer synthesized sulfachrysoidine (Prontosil), and Domagk showed that this compound protected mice against streptococcal infection, an experiment for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1939.1 The last 50 years of what is called the antibiotic era have greatly changed the practice of pediatrics. For example, between 1930 and 1970 the mortality rate per 100,000 children aged 1 to 4 years from influenza and pneumonia fell from 123.1 to 7.6.2 Successful antimicrobial therapy of bacterial pneumonia surely contributed to this decrease. Yet infectious disease remains a major problem for the practicing pediatrician. Twenty-six percent of all visits made by children younger than 18 years to office-based physicians in 1975-1976 were for respiratory conditions, 33 million visits a years.3 Twenty-one percent of the days children spent in short-stay hospitals during the same year were due to respiratory conditions, 4.9 million days a year. Although