Before a satisfactory treatment became available, the outlook for patients with Pneumocystis carinii pneumonitis was bleak. This illness, unique to the compromised host, proved fatal in 50 per cent of infantile cases during European epidemics and in about 100 per cent of affected children and adults who were immunodeficient because of neoplasia, anticancer therapy, organ transplantation or congenital immune deficiency disorders. In 1958 Idy and Pdy, in Budapest, successfully treated the infection with pentamidine isethionate, a diamidine with antiprotozoal and antifungal activity. They were eventually able to reduce the mortality from infantile P. carinii pneumonitis from 50 per cent to.
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