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September 1961

Pneumocystis Carinii in Interstitial Plasma-Cell Pneumonia: Studies of the Organism

Author Affiliations

Hygiene-Institut, Marburg Lahn, Germany.; Children's Hospital, Würzburg University, Würzburg, Germany. Director: Professor Dr. J. Ströder.

Am J Dis Child. 1961;102(3):375-379. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1961.02080010377014

Interstitial plasma-cell pneumonia of prematures unfortunately is common in European countries. Lately, it has also been recognized more frequently on the American continent (Berdnikoff,2 Eberling and Cohen,4 Gagné and Hould,5 Howard and Sheldon,7 Junger and Wyllie,8 Lunseth et al.,9 and Sheldon12). This highly contagious "plague of the prematures" continues to present a dilemma with regard to its etiology, epidemiology, and therapy. In 1952, Vaněk and Jérovec14 reported an organism, the "Pneumocystis carinii," in the alveoli of affected lungs. To date, however, two unknowns persist about this "organism": (1) Is the Pneumocystis carinii really the etio-logic agent of the disease, or is it simply "associated" with another agent, possibly a virus? (2) Is the Pneumocystis carinii a protozoon, or is it simply a degradative product of a host cell—the result of nuclear or cytoplasmatic degeneration? The studies reported below focus on these points.

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