Clinical Features of Influenza C Virus Infection in Children

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Seroepidemiological studies have revealed that influenza C virus is widely distributed globally. However, because the isolation of this virus is difficult, there have been few reports on its clinical features.


Between December 1990 and November 2004, 84,946 respiratory-tract specimens were obtained from patients >15 years old. On the basis of the results of isolation of virus, we examined the clinical data on children infected with influenza C virus.


Of 170 children infected with influenza C virus, 157 (92.4%) were <6 years old. Fever (frequency, 90.0%), cough (frequency, 74.1%), and rhinorrhea (frequency, 61.8%) were the most frequent symptoms. The mean duration of fever was 2.88 days (standard deviation, 1.66 days). Of the 170 children, 29 were hospitalized, and 21 (72.4%) of these 29 had lower-respiratory-tract illness such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and bronchiolitis. The rate of hospital admission was significantly higher in children <2 years old than in children 2-5 years old (30.4% vs. 11.9%; P=.0043).


Influenza C virus is a significant cause of upper-respiratory-tract illness in children <6 years old, and the risk of complications with lower-respiratory-tract illness is particularly high in children <2 years old.

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