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May 2, 2011

Pneumococcic Meningitis: Complete Recovery of a 6-Month-Old Infant Treated With Penicillin

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011;165(5):385-387. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.37

Abraham M. Litvak, director of pediatrics at Beth-El Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, and his colleagues Emanuel Appelbaum and Morton Greene could scarcely believe their eyes in early November 1943 at the response of a 6-month-old “moribund” infant to the new drug penicillin.1 They characterized the infant's “dramatic” recovery from highly fatal “pneumococcic” meningitis as “little short of astounding.”1(p486) Their article, published in the American Journal of Diseases of Children (AJDC) in June 1944, was an early mention in the pediatric literature of the scientific advance that defined 1940s health care delivery.