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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 1996 Oct;15(10):777-81.

Respiratory syncytial virus infection in the elderly.

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Department of Microbiology, A. Stampar School of Public Health, Medical School, University of Zagreb, Croatia.


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of lower respiratory tract infections in infants and children throughout the world. Respiratory syncytial virus infections in the elderly represent reinfections in the hosts who have had many prior episodes. Thus, RSV infections are usually not considered serious in adults, since reinfections are generally known to result in mild disease. Nevertheless, in adults, as in children, the infection has been reported to cause altered airway resistance and exacerbation of chronic obstructive lung disease. In people over 60 years of age, RSV usually causes mild nasal congestion, but can also result in fever, anorexia, pneumonia, bronchitis, and even death. Diagnosis of RSV infection in the elderly by the standard methods used in children is not as successful as in the latter group. This may be due to a combination of factors such as shorter shedding phase, lower viral titers, and dry mucosa. An alternative, rapid, and direct viral diagnostic method, the polymerase chain reaction, has recently been introduced in the diagnosis of RSV infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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