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April 1959

Asian Influenza A in Boston, 1957-1958II. Severe Staphylococcal Pneumonia Complicating Influenza

Author Affiliations

Boston With the technical assistance of Mildred W. Barnes, Clare Wilcox, and Ann Najarian

From the Thorndike Memorial Laboratory, Second and Fourth (Harvard) Medical Services and Mallory Institute of Pathology, Boston City Hospital; the Department of Medicine, 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):532-542. doi:10.1001/archinte.1959.00270040018002

Prior to the 1957-1958 epidemic of Asian influenza A, public health authorities in the United States warned that a high incidence of postinfluenzal staphylococcal pneumonia could be anticipated, and they widely publicized recommendations for limiting the severity of this complication.1,2 In virtually all sections of the nation many cases of staphylococcal pneumonia did indeed occur; available data indicate that despite the forewarning the Staphylococcus accounted for the largest single group of fatalities due to postinfluenzal bacterial pneumonia.3

The purpose of the present report is to present and compare the findings, clinical course, and management in 11 fatal cases and 9 nonfatal cases of post-Asian-influenzal staphylococcal pneumonia occurring in Boston and environs; to analyze the properties of the strains of staphylococci responsible, and to demonstrate the importance of the rapid choice of effective antistaphylococcal chemotherapeutic agents.

Materials and Methods 

Human Cases.  —All the cases studied occurred in the months

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