Skip to main content

A study of acute respiratory disease in the community of Port Chalmers I. Illnesses within a group of selected families and the relative incidence of respiratory pathogens in the whole community

  • L. C. Jennings (a1), R. D. MacDiarmid (a2) and J. A. R. Miles (a1)

A study of respiratory diseases in the semi-isolated community of Port Chalmers, New Zealand, began in April 1973. The intensive surveillance of a selected group of 26 families involved the weekly reporting of illness, the collection of specimens for virus, Group A streptococci and Mycoplasma pneumoniae isolation and the collection of sera at 6-month intervals. A total of 956 illnesses were reported during 32 months. The median number of illnesses per year were: infants 4·4, children 2·5, female adults 2·4 and male adults 2·0. Of all these illnesses, 57% were upper respiratory, 31% were lower respiratory and 9% were enteric. The severity of these illnesses was not greater than would be expected in open communities. Surveillance by pathogen isolation only of the whole community through the patients in the general practice was carried out concurrently.

A total of 640 nasopharyngeal swab specimens were collected from which 161 viruses, 47 Group A streptococci and 2 M. pneumoniae were isolated. The overall isolation rate was 33%. The similarities between the epidemiological patterns of respiratory disease in the open community and the isolated community are discussed.

Hide All
Banker D. D. & Melnick J. L. (1957). Isolation of Coxsackie virus (C virus) from North Alaskan Eskimos. American Journal of Hygiene 54, 383–90.
Bradsreet C. M. P. & Taylor C. E. D. (1962). Techniques of complement-fixation test applicable to the diagnosis of virus diseases. Monthly Bulletin of the Ministry of Health and the Public Health Laboratory Service 21, 96104.
Buckland F. E. & Tyrreli D. A. J. (1962). Loss of infectivity on drying various viruses. Nature, London 195, 1063–4.
Chanock R. M., Bell J. A. & Parrott R. H. (1961). Natural history of parainfluenza infection. Perspectives in Virology 11, 126–38.
Fox J. P., Elveback L. R., Spigland I., Frothingeam T. E., Stevens D. A. & Huger M. (1966). The virus watch program: A continuing surveillance of viral infections in metropolitan New York families. I. Overall plan, methods of collecting and handling information and a summary report of specimens collected and illnesses observed. American Journal of Epidemiology 83, 389412.
Fox J. P., Hall C. R., Cooney M. K., Luce R. E. & Kronmal R. A. (1972). The Seattle Virus Watch. II. Objectives, study population and summary of illnesses. American Journal of Epidemiology 96, 270–85.
Grist N. R., Ross C. A., Bell E. J. & Stott E. J. (1966). Diagnostic Methods in Clinical Virology. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications.
Hall C. E., Cooney M. K. & Fox J. P. (1973). The Seattle Virus Watch. IV. Comparative epidemiologic observations of infections with influenza A and B viruses, 1965–1969, in families with young children. American Journal of Epidemiology 98, 365–80.
Hemmes J. H., Winkler K. C. & Kool S. M. (1960). Virus survival as a seasonal factor in influenza and poliomyelitis. Nature, London 188, 430–1.
Holmes M. J., Reed S. E., Stott E. J. & Tyrrell D. A. J. (1976). Studies of experimental rhinovirus type 2 infections in polar isolation and in England. Journal of Hygiene 76, 379–93.
Hope-Simpson R. E. (1958). The epidemiology of non-infectious diseases and common upper respiratory disease. Royal Society of Health Journal 78, 593–9.
Hope-Simpson R. E. & Higgins P. G. (1969). A respiratory virus study in Great Britain: review and evaluation. Progress in Medical Virology 11, 354407.
Lennette E. H. & Schmidt N. J. (1969). Diagnostic Procedures for Viral and Rickettsial Infections, 4th ed.American Public Health Association Inc.
Maxted W. R. (1953). The use of bacitracin for identifying group A haemolytic streptococci. Journal of Clinical Pathology 6, 224–6.
Medical Research Council (1965). Working Party of the Medical Research Council on acute respiratory virus infections: A collaborative study of the aetiology of acute respiratory infections in 1961–64. British Medical Journal ii, 319–26.
Miles J. A. R., Macnamara F. N., Mitchell R. & Maguire T. (1973). A serological study on the occurrence of some respiratory infections in Fiji. Human Biology in Oceania 2, 7996.
Monto A. S. (1973). The Tecumseh study of respiratory illness. V. Patterns of infection with the parainfluenza viruses. American Journal of Epidemiology 97, 338–48.
Monto A. S. & Cavallaro J. J. (1971). The Tecumseh study of respiratory illness. II. Patterns of occurrence of infection with respiratory pathogens, 1965–1969. American Journal of Epidemiology 94, 280–89.
Monto A. S., Napier J. A. & Metzner H. L. (1971). The Tecumseh study of respiratory illness. I. Plan of study and observations and syndromes of acute respiratory disease. American Journal of Epidemiology 94, 269–79.
New Zealand Year Book (1973). Official Yearbook: Authoritative reference on resources and social and economic developments in New Zealand. 78th annual edition. Wellington: Shearer, Government Printer.
Paul J. H. & Freese H. L. (1933). An epidemiological and bacteriological study of the ‘common cold’ in an isolated Arctic community (Spitzbergen). American Journal of Hygiene 17, 517–35.
Shibli M., Gooch S., Lewis H. E. & Tyrrell D. A. J. (1971). Common colds on Tristan da Cunha. Journal of Hygiene 69, 255–62.
Smith C. B., ChanocK R. M., Friedewald W. T. & Alford R. H. (1967). Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections in volunteers. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 143, 471–83.
Sutton R. N. P. (1965). Minor illness in Trinidad: a longitudinal study. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene 59, 212–20.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 3 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 35 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th January 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.