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Ann Intern Med. 1978 Feb;88(2):203-5.

Respiratory syncytial virus infection in adults: clinical, virologic, and serial pulmonary function studies.


We prospectively studied 10 previously healthy adults who developed an acute respiratory illness while working in an infants' ward during a community outbreak of respiratory syncytial virus infection. In addition to clinical and viral evaluation, total respiratory resistance before and after carbachol aerosol inhalation was measured. All 10 subjects had respiratory syncytial virus infection documented by viral isolation, and all developed pronounced cough, nasal congestion, and fever. Eight subjects missed work for an average of 6 days. In all 10 patients, the total respiratory resistance was significantly elevated through 8 weeks. Altered airway reactivity, characterized by exaggerated responses of pulmonary resistance to carbachol challenge, was also observed through the first 8 weeks of evaluation. In this group, respiratory syncytial virus produced a protracted illness associated with appreciable morbidity. The pathophysiologic mechanism of this illness in part appeared to arise from altered airway reactivity.

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