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Keywords:

  • Influenza;
  • military;
  • mortality;
  • pandemic;
  • pneumonia

Please cite this paper as: Shanks et al. Relationship between “purulent bronchitis” in military populations in Europe prior to 1918 and the 1918–1919 influenza pandemic. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 6(4), 235–239.

Purulent bronchitis was a distinctive and apparently new lethal respiratory infection in British and American soldiers during the First World War. Mortality records suggest that purulent bronchitis caused localized outbreaks in the midst of a broad epidemic wave of lethal respiratory illness in 1916–1917. Probable purulent bronchitis deaths in the Australian Army showed an epidemic wave that moved from France to England. Purulent bronchitis may have been the clinical expression of infection with a novel influenza virus which also could have been a direct precursor of the 1918 pandemic strain.