chapter  7
24 Pages

Captain of the Men of Death

Pneumonia, the indiscriminate killer of young and old, rich and poor, was aptly called Captain of the Men Of Death by Dr. William Osler in his famous 1909 medical textbook. You might think that now, with antibiotics, vaccines, better housing, better nutrition and better medical science, that this designation no longer applies. Statistics, however, prove otherwise. Pneumonia has not disappeared; if anything, it has gained new vigor. This persistence can be explained, to some extent, by the fact that people travel widely and spread their infections quickly over greater distances-the global village effect. In the final analysis, however, it is the vast number of different types of pneumonia bacteria, the evershifting characteristics within those types, and the emergence of resistant strains, that make it so difficult to eradicate.