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Influenza Viruses

  • W. Paul Glezen
  • Robert B. Couch
Chapter

Abstract

Influenza virus infections are the most important cause of medically attended acute respiratory illness.(121,131)Their impact is universal, affecting persons of all ages in all parts of the world,(5,6,225)including both temperate and tropical climates. Acute respiratory diseases, to which influenza is a major contributor, rival gastroenteritis as the principal cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world. Epidemics occur annually, and, although they vary considerably in severity and intensity, the peak of acute respiratory illness causing persons to seek medical care always coincides with the peak of influenza virus activity. Traditionally, the impact of influenza epidemics has been measured by estimating excess mortality, a finding specific for influenza and primarily occurring among aged and chronically ill persons. However, hospitalization with acute respiratory disease (ARD) may also be considered to be a serious consequence of influenza virus infection worthy of prevention. Recent surveys have shown that only about one–quarter of patients hospitalized with ARD during influenza epidemics are 65 years of age or older and that only 31% have underlying chronic conditions for which vaccine is currently recommended.(130)Thus, influenza is a serious threat for a large segment of the population that includes young and apparently healthy persons.

Keywords

Influenza Virus Influenza Vaccine Excess Mortality Influenza Virus Infection Swine Influenza 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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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Paul Glezen
    • 1
  • Robert B. Couch
    • 1
  1. 1.Influenza Research Center, Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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