Epidemiology of Viral Respiratory Tract Infections

  • Sebastian Johnston
  • Stephen Holgate


Episodes of respiratory viral infection were recognized long before their causal agents were discovered, and viral epidemiology was one of the first branches of virology to be developed. Studies of respiratory viral epidemiology have been limited by the capabilities of the diagnostic methods available at the time. These have improved steadily over the years and are continuing to do so, particularly with the recent development of molecular methods of viral detection. Early studies tended to concentrate on those viruses that could be most easily detected using traditional methods, such as influenza viruses, adenoviruses and respiratory syncytial (RS) virus. As time passed rhinoviruses and coronaviruses were discovered, and as methods for their detection have improved, so has come an appreciation of their importance in respiratory viral illness. These two viruses are now thought to account for between 50% and 75% of upper respiratory tract infections, and as such, due emphasis will be given to these virus types in this chapter.


Influenza Virus Respiratory Syncytial Virus Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection Common Cold Respiratory Virus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Chapman & Hall 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian Johnston
  • Stephen Holgate

There are no affiliations available

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