By S. W. Patterson, M.D., D.Sc.
Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Research in Pathology and Medicine, Melbourne
From: The Medical Journal of Australia, Vol. I, 7th Year. Sydney: Saturday, March 6, 1920. No.10
THIS IS A VERY TECHNICAL ARTICLE INVESTIGATING THE CAUSE OF INFLUENZA...
A fundamental question was raised of the definition of influenza.
Is it the clinical picture or the epidemiological characters of the outbreaks and course of spread that make influenza an entity?
Is it one disease or a group of diseases? And is the disease that prevailed in the spring of earlier years the same as occurred in the autumn of 1918?
Epidemiologically the extreme contagiousness of the disease was proved to be by the "drop" method from person to person. The infecting agent had been regarded since 1892 as the organism described by Pfeiffer as the influenza bacillus.
But in this epidemic a great many observers failed to find the Pfeiffer bacillus. This fact, together with its prevalence in many respiratory infections, especially in children, apart from epidemics, caused much doubt to be thrown on the claim that Bacillus.
Influenzae of Pfeiffer is the cause of the disease.