Common Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +


Upper respiratory tract infections are those primarily affecting the

structures of the respiratory tract above the larynx, but most respiratory

illness affect both the upper and lower portions of the tract simultaneously

or sequentially.

 Pathophysiologic features include

1. Inflammatory infiltrates

2 . Edema of the mucosa

3. Vascular congestion

4. Increased mucus secretion

5. Alterations of ciliary structure and function.

Many different micro organism, [chiefly viruses]are capable of

causing primary upper respiratory tract disease. The same organism may

cause inapparent infection or clinical symptoms of differentiating severity

and extent in accordance with host factor such as age, sex, previous

contact with the agent, allergy and nutritional status.

Children enrolled in childcare are exposed to a wide range of

pathogenes at an earlier age.


1. Most acute respiratory tract infections are caused by viruses and

mycoplasma. An exception is acute epiglottis

2. Streptococci and the diptheria organisms are the major bacterial

agents capable of causing primary pharyngeal disease.

3. Although considerable overlapping exists, some micro organisms

are more likely to produce a given respiratory syndrome than

others, and certain agents have a greater tendency than other to

produce severe disease.

4. Some viruses (measeles) may be associated. Varying amounts of

upper and lower respiratory tract symptomatology as part of a

general clinical picture involving the other organ systems.

a. Acute Nasopharyngitis

b. Acute Pharyngitis

c. Laryngitis

d. Acute Uvulitis

e. Chronic rhinitis and Nasopharyngitis.

f. Retero pharyngeal abcess

g. Peritonsillar Abcess

h. Sinusitis

i. Lateral pharyngeal abcess.

The Respiratory syncitial virus (RSV)

Is the principle single cause of bronchiolitis, accounting for about one

third of all cases. It is a common cause of pneumonia, croup and

bronchilitis as well as of undifferentiated febrile disease of the upper

respiratory tract.

The parainfluenza viruses account for most cases of the croup

syndrome but may also produce bronchitis bronchiolitis and febrile upper

respiratory tract disease.

The influenza viruses do not play a large part in the various

respiratory syndromes except during epidemics. In infants and children

influenza viruses account for more disease of the upper than the lower

respiratory tract.

The adenoviruses account for fewer than 10% of respiratory illness,

many of which are mild or asymptomatic. Pharyngitis and pharygno

conjuctival fever are the most common clinical manifestation in children

The rhinoviruse and cornaviruses

Usually produce symptoms limited to the upper tract, most commonly

the nose and account for a significant proportion of the ‘common cold’


Coxsakies viruses A and B

Produce primarily disease of naso pharynx


Can produce both upper and lower respiratory tract illness, including

  • Bronchiolitis

  • Pneumonia

  • Bronchitis

  • Pharyngotonsilitis

  • otitis media


About Author

Leave A Reply