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July 26, 1965


JAMA. 1965;193(4):302. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090040046016

The incidence of empyema of staphylococcal origin has increased to such an extent that most physicians automatically conclude that all cases of empyema, and particularly in infants, are due to this organism. However, a communication in the July issue of the American Journal of Diseases of Children1 emphasizes the role of type b Hemophilus influenzae as a cause of the condition. Two children, 11 and 2 years of age, with empyema due to this organism are described. In both patients the disease exhibited a relatively benign clinical course, in distinct contrast to the rather fulminating manifestations usually observed in other varieties of respiratory infection due to Hemophilus influenzae.

In a study of 6,508 infants and children with pneumonia seen between 1943 and 1958 at a children's medical center, 89 cases of empyema were observed. However, only one case was attributed to H influenzae. In another series of 82 cases