Acute respiratory illness in the community. Frequency of illness and the agents involved

Epidemiol Infect. 1993 Feb;110(1):145-60. doi: 10.1017/s0950268800050779.


Investigations of respiratory illnesses and infections in Tecumseh, Michigan, USA, were carried out in two phases, together covering 11 years. During the second phase, there were 5363 person-years of observation. Respiratory illness rates in both males and females peaked in the 1-2 year age group and fell thereafter. Adult females had more frequent illnesses than adult males; illnesses were less common in working women than in women not working outside the home. Isolation of viruses fell with increasing age; rhinoviruses were the most common isolate. Influenza infection rates, determined serologically, suggested relative sparing of young children from infection with type A (H1N1) and type B. Infection rates were highest in adult age groups for type A (H3N2). The isolation and serological infection rates were used to estimate the extent to which laboratory procedures underestimated the proportion of respiratory illnesses caused by each infectious agent; data from other studies were also used in this estimation. Severity of respiratory illnesses was assessed by the proportion of such illnesses that resulted in consultation of a physician. Rhinoviruses produced the greatest number of consultations. Overall, physician consultations were associated with 25.4% of respiratory illnesses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / microbiology
  • Seasons
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Virus Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Virus Diseases / microbiology
  • Viruses / isolation & purification*