The Cell Biology of Acute Childhood Respiratory Disease: Therapeutic Implications
Respiratory Tract Infections
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the recently identified human metapneumovirus (HMPV), and the human parainfluenza viruses (HPIVs), cause most cases of childhood croup, bronchiolitis, and pneumonia. Influenza virus also causes a significant burden of disease in young children, although its significance in children was not fully recognized until recently. This article discusses pathogens that have been studied for several decades, including RSV and HPIVs, and also explores the newly identified viral pathogens HMPV and human coronavirus NL63. The escalating rate of emergence of new infectious agents, fortunately meeting with equally rapid advancements in molecular methods of surveillance and pathogen discovery, means that new organisms will soon be added to the list. A section on therapies for bronchiolitis addresses the final common pathways that can result from infection with diverse pathogens, highlighting the mechanisms that may be amenable to therapeutic approaches. The article concludes with a discussion of the overarching impact of new diagnostic strategies.