MILITARY IMPORTANCE OF RESPIRATORY DISEASES
The common respiratory diseases are the greatest single cause of admission of Armed
Forces personnel to medical facilities. They have accounted for more time lost from
duty than any other single cause, excluding injuries.
a. History. During World War II, 29,000 people on the average were absent
from duty each day because of respiratory diseases.
There was a total loss from duty of 42,000,000 man-days during that war
because of these diseases (1942-1945).
Approximately 5 million American soldiers required hospitalization for
common respiratory disease during that period.
b. Significance of Statistics. These statistics, monumental as they are, do not
represent the total incidence of infection during these periods, because many cases of
respiratory disease manifest only minor symptoms, and they are not reported to
dispensaries. These cases, nevertheless, can serve as sources of serious outbreaks.
COMMON RESPIRATORY DISEASES: GENERAL
The common acute respiratory diseases alone are responsible for more
noneffectiveness than any other group of communicable diseases.
Although these diseases occur in all military populations, certain specific
disease agents, such as the adenoviruses, are responsible for most epidemics in recruit
Acute respiratory disease may be manifested in a variety of clinical
syndromes, from the common cold to pneumonia, and may be caused by an even larger
number of disease agents.
There are at least 28 stereotypes of adenovirus that affect humans. They
are differentiated only by laboratory tests.
The term acute respiratory disease (ARD) in recruits is used frequently in
reference to the grippe-like syndrome in recruits caused by adenoviruses.
COMMON RESPIRATORY DISEASES: THE COMMON COLD
Probably the most frequently occurring disease of this group, the common cold, is
presumed to be caused by a virus, probably by more than one type.
a. Transmission. Transmission is by direct contact, droplets, or freshly
contaminated fomites. Many investigators feel that the virus is constantly present in a