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April 1958

Influenza: Problems Still with Us

Author Affiliations

Division of Infectious Disease 1430 Tulane Ave. New Orleans 12, La.

Department of Medicine, Tulane University School of Medicine.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;101(4):681-684. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00260160003001

The appearance of another antigenic variant of Type A influenza (Asian or Far East) in a relatively nonimmune world population in the spring of 1957 was followed by the expected widespread dissemination of the virus. Despite immediate recognition of the initial outbreaks of illness with isolation and identification of the offending agent,1,2 the tools were not at hand to prevent the disease from reaching pandemic proportions. Fortunately, the mildness and brevity of the disease and the infrequency of associated deaths remained fairly constant as the initial wave swept from country to country. Exceptions in isolated circumstances were probably due to factors other than change in the virus. Even though increasing virulence of the virus, severity of the disease, or frequency of complications were not the problems, an illness affecting millions of persons throughout the world deserves critical examination with all facilities available. The experience of the past year amply

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