[Skip to Navigation]
March 1959

Subclinical Pneumocystis Pneumonitis

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pathology, Emory University School of Medicine.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1959;97(3):287-297. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1959.02070010289005

In Europe, Pneumocystis carinii or interstitial plasma-cell pneumonia is frequent; it affects chiefly premature or otherwise debilitated infants, and it occurs sometimes in small epidemics.1 The highest incidence of the infection is at the age of 4 weeks to 6 months. The mortality is high and is not influenced by therapy. The typical autopsy findings show an extensive pneumonia characterized by plasma-cell infiltration of the alveolar septa and a peculiar intraalveolar material with many minute organisms. These have been identified as P. carinii and are generally accepted as the causative agent, although they have not been isolated in culture. Unequivocal transsion of the infection to experimental animals has not been accomplished. There is much controversy regarding the taxonomic position of the organism, which some consider a protozoon, others, a fungus.

In North America, Pneumocystic pneumonia is thought to be a rare disorder and thus far only a few isolated