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December 18, 1948


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota Medical School.

JAMA. 1948;138(16):1142-1144. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02900160010004

The epidemic occurrence of pneumonitis in newborn and premature infants has been reported previously,1 but it is the purpose of this communication to emphasize for the first time the sporadic occurrence of this disease. Further, its relationship to other mild diseases of the respiratory tract in older persons or adults is more clearly understood at the present time.

Primary pneumonitis was first recognized in January 1937 as a severe epidemic disease of newborn babies. It was evident at that time, although little emphasis was accorded to the fact, that all stages of involvement of the respiratory tract occurred in the various patients in the same ward. Some of the babies manifested sneezing and cough only; others had pronounced cough with inspiratory dyspnea, while the majority were severely ill with attacks of cyanosis and considerable dyspnea, leading to death in 28 per cent of the patients.

In the sporadic cases

Adams, J. M.:  A New Form of Virus Pneumonitis Occurring Epidemically Among Newborn Infants ,  Proc. Soc. Exper. Biol. & Med. 46:114, 1941
 Primary Virus Pneumonitis with Cytoplasmic Inclusion Bodies: Study of an Epidemic Involving Thirty-Two Infants with Nine Deaths ,  J. A. M. A. 116:925 ( (March 8) ) 1941.
Adams, J. M.; Green, R. G.; Evans, C. A., and Beach, N.:  Primary Virus Pneumonitis: A Comparative Study of Two Epidemics ,  J. Pediat. 20:405, 1942.
 Immunity on Reinoculation with Agents from the Two Types of Respiratory Illness and from Primary Atypical Pneumonia, Commission on Acute Respiratory Diseases ,  J. Clin. Investigation 26:974, 1947.