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. 2006 Feb;25(2):160-4.
doi: 10.1097/01.inf.0000199265.90299.26.

Influenza Pneumonia

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Influenza Pneumonia

Elina Lahti et al. Pediatr Infect Dis J. .

Abstract

Background: Influenza and pneumonia are common childhood illnesses, but few studies have been conducted on influenza-related pneumonia in children. The aim of this study was to describe the frequency and characteristics of laboratory-documented and radiologically detected influenza pneumonia in children.

Methods: This study involved children treated at the Department of Pediatrics, Turku University Hospital, from 1980 through 2003. Influenza A or B infection was documented with the use of antigen detection from nasopharyngeal aspirates. Children with chest radiographs obtained during influenza episodes were identified. Chest radiographs were reevaluated by a pediatric radiologist for verification of pneumonic infiltrates. Clinical and laboratory data were collected from medical records.

Results: Pneumonia was detected in 134 (14%) of 936 children with influenza infection. The most frequent signs of influenza pneumonia were fever and cough. Of these children, 47% had no specific clinical signs or symptoms suggesting pneumonia. White blood cell count was <15 x 10/L in 89% and serum C-reactive protein concentration <80 mg/L in 85% of the children. One-half of the children had solely interstitial infiltrates, one-fourth solely alveolar and one- fourth both alveolar and interstitial infiltrates on the chest radiograph. The hospitalization rate was 68%, and the median duration of hospitalization was 2 days. Complicated pneumonias were rare, and mortality was low (0.7%).

Conclusions: Pneumonia is detected in a minority of children treated for influenza at a tertiary center. Unlike in adults, influenza pneumonia in children is usually a benign illness, and the mortality is low.

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