World Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 8–18 | Cite as

Prematurity and the burden of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus disease

  • Bernhard ReschEmail author
  • Stefan Kurath-Koller
  • Monika Eibisberger
  • Werner Zenz
Review article



Respiratory morbidity of former preterm infants and especially those with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is high during infancy and early childhood.

Data sources

We performed a review based on a literature search including EMBASE, MEDLINE, and CINAHL databases to identify all relevant papers published in the English and German literature on influenza and respiratory syncytial virus infection associated with preterm infant, prematurity, and BPD between 1980 and 2014.


Recurrent respiratory symptoms remain common at preschool age, school age and even into young adulthood. Acute viral respiratory tract infections due to different pathogens cause significant morbidity and necessitate rehospitalizations during the first years of life. Influenza virus infection plays a minor role compared to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) associated respiratory tract infection during infancy and early childhood. Nevertheless, particular morbidity to both viruses is high.


The particular burden of both viral diseases in preterm infants is dominated by RSV and its associated rehospitalizations during the first two years of life. Prophylactic measures include vaccination against influenza virus of family members and caregivers and active immunization starting at the age of 6 months, and monthly injections of palivizumab during the cold season to avoid severe RSV disease and its sequelae.

Key words

bronchopulmonary dysplasia influenza preterm infant respiratory infectious disease respiratory syncytial virus 


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Copyright information

© Children's Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernhard Resch
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stefan Kurath-Koller
    • 2
  • Monika Eibisberger
    • 2
  • Werner Zenz
    • 3
  1. 1.Research Unit for Neonatal Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology, Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent MedicineMedical University of GrazGrazAustria
  2. 2.Research Unit for Neonatal Infectious Diseases and EpidemiologyMedical University of GrazGrazAustria
  3. 3.Research Unit for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent MedicineMedical University of GrazGrazAustria

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