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May 20, 1983

Prospects for Broad-Spectrum Chemotherapy of Serious Viral Respiratory Infections

Author Affiliations

University of Virginia School of Medicine Charlottesville

JAMA. 1983;249(19):2689-2690. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330430065034

Physicians are aware of the importance of influenza viruses and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) as causative agents for severe respiratory illness. Both are responsible for widespread community outbreaks during winter months. Respiratory syncytial virus is the most common cause of serious lower respiratory tract disease in infants and young children. Yet, early in life, both RSV and influenza viruses may be responsible for increases in pediatric hospital admissions.1,2 In later years, repeated infection with these agents is inescapable. Influenza viruses have long been associated with increased mortality caused by respiratory disease among elderly persons and others with serious underlying medical conditions. However, previous measures of excess mortality may have substantially underestimated their impact. Recent studies have documented the yearly occurrence of community outbreaks of influenza A or B virus infections, each outbreak accompanied by increases in hospital admissions and deaths caused by respiratory disease.3 There is also a