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Radiology Forum
February 2001

Diagnosis Quiz Case 1

Author Affiliations


Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2001;127(2):214-215. doi:

Before the 1940s, epiglottitis was first formally reported in the literature as an adult disease. Subsequent focus on the pediatric form of this process occurred in the 1950s, and for 25 years, there was little discussion of adult cases.1 Since the Haemophilus influenzae vaccine became available in 1985 and gained widespread acceptance, the childhood incidence of epiglottitis has rapidly dropped. A 1994 epidemiological study by Frantz et al2 revealed that the incidence decreased from 3.5 to 0.5 episodes per 100 000 children per year between 1980 and 1990. It also showed no change in the adult incidence, which remained 1.8 per 100 000 adults per year.1 The relative inversion of the child-adult ratio has now partially returned the focus of this process to the adult community. More than 500 reports of adult epiglottitis, or supraglottitis, have been documented.1

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