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June 1962

Risk to Children Exposed in Home to Respiratory Bacteria

Author Affiliations

Marjorie Bodwell Dunlap, M.A., Acton Medical Associates, Main St., Acton, Mass.; Assistant in Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine; Physician, Emerson (Concord) and Ayer Hospitals and Acton Medical Associates (Dr. Harvey); Bacteriologist, Emerson Hospital and Acton Medical Associates (Mrs. Dunlap).

Am J Dis Child. 1962;103(6):777-785. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1962.02080020794007

Adults do not always acquire the respiratory bacteria to which they have been intimately exposed.2 It would be even more remarkable if children were found to exhibit a similar resistance to exposure in the home.

It has been found that children in general acquire respiratory pathogens more readily than do adults. James et al.4 found that the pick-up rates for children for the hemolytic Streptococcus were higher than for their parents. We have found that adults do not carry the 3 endemic pathogens, Streptococcus pyogenes, Diplococcus pneumoniae, or Hemophilus influenzae as frequently or in as large quantities as do children. We have found, furthermore, that distinctive age curves can be drawn for each species, and that the curves are different for noses and for throats.1

These curves represent averages for the population as a whole. Within this pattern, wide individual differences have been found, particularly in response

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