The classification of viruses infecting the respiratory tract

Paediatr Respir Rev. 2003 Jun;4(2):84-90. doi: 10.1016/s1526-0542(03)00031-9.

Abstract

Following the boom in respiratory virology in the 1960s, species of rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, enteroviruses, adenoviruses, parainfluenza viruses and respiratory syncytial virus were added to influenza and measles viruses as causes of respiratory tract infection. In restricted patient groups, such as the immunocompromised, members of the family of herpesviruses including herpes simplex, cytomegalovirus, varicella-zoster virus, Epstein-Barr virus and human herpes virus 6 have also been associated with respiratory disease. This list of pathogens was extended last year with the discovery of a novel virus, the human metapneumovirus. More than 200 antigenically distinct viruses have been documented as causes of sporadic or epidemic respiratory infections in infants, children and adults. However, this varied and diverse group can be divided among six distinct families. Understanding some of the basic biology of these families gives an insight into possible strategies for diagnosis, control and therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / classification
  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Viral / analysis
  • Coronaviridae / classification
  • Coronaviridae / genetics
  • Enterovirus Infections / classification
  • Enterovirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Enterovirus Infections / virology
  • Genome, Viral
  • Herpesviridae / classification
  • Herpesviridae Infections / virology
  • Humans
  • Influenza A virus
  • Orthomyxoviridae / classification
  • Orthomyxoviridae / immunology
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / virology
  • Paramyxoviridae / classification
  • Paramyxoviridae / genetics
  • Picornaviridae / classification
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA Virus Infections / genetics
  • RNA Virus Infections / prevention & control
  • RNA Virus Infections / virology*
  • RNA Viruses / classification*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / prevention & control
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / virology*
  • Vaccination
  • Vaccines, Attenuated
  • Viral Vaccines / therapeutic use

Substances

  • Antigens, Viral
  • Vaccines, Attenuated
  • Viral Vaccines