Parainfluenza Viruses

  • W. Paul Glezen
  • Frank A. Loda
  • Floyd W. Denny


The parainfluenza viruses are species of the genus Paramyxovirus, family Paramyxoviridae.(51a) They are exceeded only by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) as important causes of lower respiratory disease in young children, and they commonly reinfect older children and adults to produce upper respiratory illnesses. There is considerable diversity in both epidemiological and clinical manifestations of infections due to the parainfluenza viruses. Para-influenza virus type 1 (Para 1) is the principal cause of croup (laryngotracheobronchitis) in children, and parainfluenza virus type 3 (Para 3) is second only to RSV as a cause of pneumonia and bronchiolitis in infants less than 6 months of age. Parainfluenza virus type 2 (Para 2) resembles Para 1 in clinical manifestations, but serious illnesses occur less frequently; infections with parainfluenza virus type 4 (Para 4) are detected infrequently, and associated illnesses are usually inconsequential.


Respiratory Syncytial Virus Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection Acute Respiratory Disease Serological Survey Lower Respiratory Disease 
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Suggested Reading

  1. Chanock, R. M., and Parrott, R. H., Acute respiratory disease in infancy and childhood: Present Understand ing and prospects for prevention, Pediatrics 36:21–39 (1965).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Clarke, S. K. R., Parainfluenza virus infections, Postgrad. Med. J. 49:792–797 (1973).PubMedGoogle Scholar
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  4. Jackson, G. G., and Muldoon, R. L., Viruses causing common respiratory infections in man. II. Enteroviruses and paramyxoviruses, J. Infect. Dis. 128:387–469 (1973).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Monto, A. S., The Tecumseh study of respiratory illness. V. Patterns of infection with the parainfluenza viruses, Am. J. Epidemiol. 97:338–348 (1973).PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Paul Glezen
    • 1
  • Frank A. Loda
    • 2
  • Floyd W. Denny
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of and Microbiology ImmunologyBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pediatrics, School of MedicineUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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