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Influenza and other respiratory viral infections 

Influenza and other respiratory viral infections
Chapter:
Influenza and other respiratory viral infections
Author(s):

Jonathan S. Nguyen-Van-Tam

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199588084.003.0007
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date: 18 November 2019

Chapter 7 discusses the influenza and other respiratory viral infections. It explains that even though respiratory infections in temperate zones occur year round, their distribution is highly seasonal with a consistent winter peak in both northern and southern temperate zones. The burden of illness due to respiratory viral infections is immense. Each year in the UK, respiratory conditions account for roughly one quarter of all primary care consultations.Primary care professionals and ward staff are usually best placed to raise the alarm about outbreaks of influenza in community residential settings and in hospital, where the emphasis should be on rapid response because mortality may be considerable among the institutionalized elderly and in specialist units treating patients with profound immune suppression. Influenza is currently the only respiratory virus infection which is vaccine preventable. Licensed human influenza vaccines have been available since 1945, following successful trials in the US military. It concludes that the RSV is the commonest cause of respiratory virus infection in young children <2 years of age (mainly causing acute bronchiolitis) and is responsible for a very large number of annual hospital admissions in young children, mainly in winter. The contribution of RSV to serious adult respiratory infection, in addition to its more prominent burden in children, further emphasizes the pressing need for safe and effective vaccines against this important virus.

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