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May 10, 1965

Varicella Pneumonia: Study of Prevalence in Adult Men

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Internal Medicine, US Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, Va.

JAMA. 1965;192(6):572-573. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080190138035

THERE HAS BEEN considerable interest during the past several years in the pneumonic processes associated with viral diseases. Recurrent epidemics of influenza have provided the primary stimulus to Investigations1,2 in this area. Of the viral illnesses causing pneumonia, varicella lends itself well to study, particularly because of the ease with which an accurate clinical diagnosis may be established without detailed laboratory investigation.

In spite of this, there has been confusion in the medical literature as to the prevalence of varicella pneumonia. Earlier reports3,4 emphasized the rarity and severity of this complication while others5-7 more recently have observed that varicella pneumonitis could be mild (often unrecognized) and suggested that the condition may be more prevalent than generally suspected. That varicella pneumonia is not common in childhood was demonstrated by Bullowa and Wishik8 who observed only 21 cases of pneumonia in 2,534 hospitalized children with chickenpox. Mermelstein et al