Reemergence of the Natural History of Otolaryngologic Infections: Lessons Learned from 2 American Presidents

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Abstract

Presidents George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt suffered complications of epiglottitis and otomastoiditis, respectively. The introduction of antibiotics and vaccinations against Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae has significantly reduced the incidence of these otolaryngologic infections, such that the natural history of the disease is rarely encountered. However, antibiotic resistance and pathogenic evolution has raised concern about increased virulence of these common organisms. A retrospective evaluation of the complications suffered by Washington and Roosevelt provides valuable insight to the natural history of common otolaryngologic infections that may reemerge as a result of organism evolution in response to antibiotics and vaccines.

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