The common cold1,2 is our greatest single cause of illness. Although the common cold has a specific viral etiology, its most frequent complications are bacterial. These bacterial complications—sinusitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, tracheitis, bronchitis, bronchiectasis, and infectious asthma—follow the growth of the common Gram-positive pathogens,2 particularly Staphylococcus aureus.
Recurrent upper respiratory infections are the largest single cause3 of all diseases treated in general practice and pediatrics. These infections do not remain localized in the ear, nose, throat, and bronchi, but become systemic with serious complications.
Serious bronchopulmonary complications in children,4 such as bronchiectasis and infectious asthma, can frequently be accounted for by some previous acute respiratory infection or a series of such infections, frequently repeated. These children4 in their medical history show evidence of an inherited tendency to allergy, an acquired sensitivity to bacteria, and an unstable autonomic nervous system.
In adults who are highly susceptible to
SPIELMAN AD. Treatment of Complicated Colds with Acellular Bacterial Antigen Complex. AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1958;67(2):204–211. doi:10.1001/archotol.1958.00730010210012
Monkeypox Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.