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Acad Emerg Med. 2003 Dec;10(12):1400-3.

Influenza a in young children with suspected respiratory syncytial virus infection.

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1
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Emergency Medicine, Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, DE 19899, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To determine the prevalence of influenza A in young children suspected of having respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection and to compare the clinical presentation of these patients with those who have proven RSV infection.

METHODS:

Children younger than or at 36 months of age who presented to a pediatric emergency department (ED) with suspected RSV infection during the influenza A season of 2001-2002 were eligible. Eligible children had an RSV antigen test ordered as part of their initial clinical management. A consecutive sample of children was enrolled for prospective observational analysis. The main outcome measure was the prevalence of influenza A in young children with suspected RSV infection. The secondary outcome measure was a comparison of the clinical presentations, of the two groups.

RESULTS:

During the study period, 420 patients presented for evaluation of respiratory illness. RSV tests were ordered on 251 patients. Of 197 eligible patients, 124 (63%) tested positive for RSV and 33 (17%) for influenza A. Influenza A patients were more likely to have temperatures at or above 39 degrees C than RSV patients (36% vs. 15%; p = 0.01). RSV patients were more tachypneic (54 vs. 43 breaths/minute; p < 0.0001) and more often had wheezing (90% vs. 8%; p < 0.0001). Twenty influenza patients (61%) were hospitalized.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study found a high prevalence of influenza A in young children suspected of having RSV infection. Clinicians should consider influenza A in young febrile children presenting with respiratory illnesses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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