Recurrent respiratory tract infections in paediatric patients

Drugs. 1997;54 Suppl 1:1-4. doi: 10.2165/00003495-199700541-00003.


Paediatric respiratory tract infections are one of the most common reasons for physician visits and hospitalisation, and are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The role of physicians and other healthcare professionals has expanded from merely treating disease to implementing measures aimed at health maintenance and disease prevention. Therefore, children with recurrent respiratory tract infections represent a great challenge for the paediatrician, from both therapeutic and preventive standpoints. The paediatrician must first determine whether these recurrent infections are because of host-derived factors or are the result of increased environmental exposure. Host-derived factors may be nonimmunological or related to host immunodeficiency. The leading cause of recurrent respiratory tract infections throughout the world is increased environmental exposure in children attending nursery school or daycare centres. Acute otitis media in children is of particular concern because of its high incidence, frequent recurrence, and serious long term sequelae, e.g. hearing loss. The socioeconomic impact of these recurrent infections is staggering, and there remains much scope for devising methods for their treatment and prevention. Recent approaches have included the encouragement of breastfeeding, the use of intravenous immunoglobulin and respiratory syncytical virus immune globulin, as well as methods of stimulating immunity, such as ribosomal immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child Day Care Centers
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Recurrence
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / etiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / immunology*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / therapy*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Socioeconomic Factors