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March 1982

Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzaeDefinitely Pathogenic for Adults

Author Affiliations

Infectious Disease Section Veterans Administration Medical Center 2002 Holcombe Blvd Houston, TX 77211; Department of Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX 77030

Arch Intern Med. 1982;142(3):448-449. doi:10.1001/archinte.1982.00340160032006

Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae have generally been regarded as relatively low-grade and infrequent pathogens. These organisms clearly play a role in causing otitis media in children and have been implicated in the pathogenesis of chronic bronchitis. Conflicting data have been presented as to whether nontypeable H influenzae, frequently cause acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis. A careful review of articles on acute bacterial pneumonia shows few cases attributed to nontypeable H influenzae and the reader is likely to conclude that either these organisms are not pathogenic or they should not be considered so unless they are isolated from blood or other enclosed tissue spaces.

Our finding of pneumonia caused by nontypeable H influenzae in adults1 stimulated a prospective study of patients with blood cultures positive for H influenzae. Data from four large hospitals in Houston and from one in Atlanta disclosed a striking and unexpected finding, namely, that nontypeable H influenzae

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