Virus Pneumonias

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UNTIL comparatively recently pneumonias have been classified on a pathologic or anatomic basis, the most common designations having been lobar pneumonia and bronchopneumonia. In the twentieth century, with the isolation and identification of pyogenic bacteria as causative agents, the diagnosis and classification of the pneumonias was further clarified.

The introduction of the sulfonamides and penicillin, which have specific effects on several of the bacterial pneumonias, represented a further forward step. However, the fact that many pneumonias, including those which are now considered to be due to viruses, do not respond to these preparations has raised additional problems. Furthermore, the more frequent use and the improved technics of roentgenograms of the chest have revealed that there are many previously unrecognized types of pneumonia.

Reasons for the lack of interest in pneumonias caused by viruses have been summarized by Reimann:1 (a) the high incidence in mortality rate of the bacterial pneumonias demanded precedence of interest; (b) the viral infections of the respiratory tract by contrast were of lesser importance; (c) studies were hampered by technical difficulties of research on viruses and a lack of suitable experimental animals; (d) the pulmonary lesions of viral infections are often obscured at necropsy by bacterial invasion, and (e) many pulmonary lesions were undetected because roentgenography in the past was not generally used in mild diseases.

Pneumonias of Known Virus Origin

Measles pneumonia. Pneumonia occurs not infrequently in patients with measles, and roentgenologic and pathologic findings are compatible with those found in other virus pneumonias.

Variola pneumonia.



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