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Article
January 1940

AN EPIDEMIC DISEASE OF THE RESPIRATORY TRACT

Author Affiliations

PHILADELPHIA

From the Department of Medicine, Jefferson Medical College Hospital.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1940;65(1):138-150. doi:10.1001/archinte.1940.00190070148010
Abstract

In the past few years numerous clinicians have described isolated cases and epidemics of infection of the respiratory tract especially associated with pulmonary involvement. The disease in most instances resembled epidemic influenza so closely that clinical differentiation could not be made, and in only one or two studies were attempts made to differentiate the disease from influenza by serologic or other laboratory methods. Definite diagnoses in this group of infections of the respiratory tract cannot be made, of course, until the etiologic agents in the different diseases become known.

Various names have been given to the diseases described, such as acute pneumonitis,1 acute influenza pneumonitis,2 acute interstitial pneumonitis,3 atypical pneumonia,4 bronchopneumonia,5 pseudolobarbronchopneumonia,6 benign circumscribed pneumonia,7 disseminated focal pneumonia,8 acute diffuse bronchiolitis9 and capillary pneumonia.

These terms may be fairly descriptive of the underlying pathoanatomic changes, but beyond this they serve no useful purpose. Furthermore, in our recent experience with a

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