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April 1959

Asian Influenza A in Boston. 1957-1958I. Observations in Thirty-Two Influenza-Associated Fatal Cases

Author Affiliations


From the Thorndike Memorial Laboratory, Second and Fourth (Harvard) Medical Services and Mallory Institute of Pathology, Boston City Hospital; the Departments of Medicine and of Bacteriology and Immunology, Harvard Medical School; and the Departments of Pathology, Boston University School of Medicine and Tufts University School of Medicine. Senior Assistant Surgeon (R), Epidemic Intelligence Service, Communicable Diseases Center, United States Public Health Service (Dr. Kunin).

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1959;103(4):515-531. doi:10.1001/archinte.1959.00270040001001

In the city of Boston, the pandemic of Asian influenza A was accompanied by an estimated 118 fatalities from influenza and pneumonia in excess of the norm-approximately 38 of them during the first wave in October and November, 1957, 42 in the second wave in March and April, 1958, and the remainder in the intervening months.1 The present report summarizes the pertinent clinical, pathological, virological, and bacteriological features in 32 influenza-associated deaths in the Boston area, with particular reference to problems of diagnosis and management.

Materials and Methods 

Cases Studied  —A total of 43 fatal cases suspected of being infuenza-associated were studied, but only 32 cases are reported here—23 of them from 11 Boston hospitals, 7 from 5 hospitals in suburbs and nearby towns, and 1 each from the Newport (R. I.) and Lawrence General (Mass.) Hospitals.f One fatality (Case 11) occurred in August; twenty-eight, during October and November; one

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