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July 1955

Bacteriologic Studies of Pulmonary Infections in Patients with Poliomyelitis

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, University of Illinois College of Medicine.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1955;90(1):51-57. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1955.04030010053009

The development of pneumonia is still a common and sometimes fatal complicating illness in debilitated patients. Poliomyelitis, by causing dysphagia and paralysis of the respiratory muscles, frequently predisposes to the development of a secondary bacterial pneumonia. This additional respiratory stress and toxemia often appears to be the cause of death among patients who might otherwise be expected to survive. During the summer and fall of 1952, we had an opportunity to study the pathogenesis and prophylaxis of pneumonia in 72 patients suffering from poliomyelitis with varying degrees of respiratory paralysis. The results of bacteriologic observations of material obtained from the respiratory tracts of these patients are presented here. The effects of various antibiotics in the prevention and treatment of these bacterial infections have been reported,1 and the correlation of the bacteriologic data and the pathologic findings in fatal cases will be reported in a subsequent paper.2


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