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J Pediatr. 2016 Apr;171:133-9.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.12.034. Epub 2016 Jan 16.

Clinical Features, Virus Identification, and Sinusitis as a Complication of Upper Respiratory Tract Illness in Children Ages 4-7 Years.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI.
Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI.
Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA.



To determine the rate of sinusitis complicating upper respiratory tract illnesses (URIs) in children. We prospectively identified the clinical, virologic, and epidemiologic characteristics of URIs in a population of 4- to 7-year-old children followed for 1 year.


This was an observational cohort study in 2 primary care pediatric practices in Madison, Wisconsin. Nasal samples were obtained during 4 asymptomatic surveillance visits and during symptomatic URIs. A polymerase chain reaction-based assay for 9 respiratory viruses was performed on nasal samples. A diagnosis of sinusitis was based on published criteria.


Two hundred thirty-six children ages 48-96 months were enrolled. A total of 327 URIs were characterized. The mean number of URIs per child was 1.3 (range 0-9) per year. Viruses were detected in 81% of URIs; rhinovirus (RV) was most common. Seventy-two percent of URIs were resolved clinically by the 10th day. RV-A and RV-C were detected more frequently at URI visits; RV-B was detected at the same rate for both asymptomatic surveillance visits and URI visits. Sinusitis was diagnosed in 8.8% of symptomatic URIs. Viruses were detected frequently (33%) in samples from asymptomatic children.


Sinusitis occurred in 8.8% of symptomatic URIs in our study. The virus most frequently detected with URIs in children was RV; RV-A and RV-C detection but not RV-B detection were associated with illness. Viruses, especially RV, are detected frequently in asymptomatic children. Most URIs have improved or resolved by the 10th day after onset. Children experienced a mean of 1.3 URIs per year, which was lower than expected.

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