Acute viral nasopharyngitis epidemiology and demographics

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1];Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Ahmed Younes M.B.B.CH [2]

Overview

Acute viral nasopharyngitis is the most common human infection worldwide, responsible for about half of all family physician visits. On average, adults get 2-3 common cold bouts per year and children get 6-10 infections per year and 500 out of every 1,000 family physician visits per year are due to acute viral nasopharyngitis. Males are more likely to be affected than females and Native Americans are more prone to develop complications.

Epidemiology and Demographics

  • Upper respiratory tract infections are the most common human infections worldwide.[1]
  • On average, adults get 2-3 common cold bouts per year and children get 6-10 infections per year.[2]
  • Acute viral nasopharyngitis is responsible for 500 out of every 1,000 family physician visits per year.[3]

Age

  • Acute viral nasopharyngitis infection is more common among infants and elderly people who have decreased immunity.
  • Elderly people > 65 years tend to have a more severe form of the disease, even developing complications.[4]

Sex

  • Males are more commonly affected by the common cold than females in all age groups, especially in young children and the elderly.[5]

Race

  • Native Americans and Inuits are more likely to contract the disease and develop complications.[2]

Developing and developed countries

  • Acute viral nasopharyngitis is prevalent worldwide with no specific predilection.

Seasonality

  • In the United States, the incidence of colds is higher in the fall and winter, with the highest rate between September and April.
  • The higher incidence during this time of the year may be due to cold weather and the school season. These factors encourage people to stay indoors in close proximity, increasing the chance of contracting the infection.

References

  1. Turner RB (1997). "Epidemiology, pathogenesis, and treatment of the common cold". Ann. Allergy Asthma Immunol. 78 (6): 531–9, quiz 539–40. doi:10.1016/S1081-1206(10)63213-9. PMID 9207716.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Fashner J, Ericson K, Werner S (2012). "Treatment of the common cold in children and adults". Am Fam Physician. 86 (2): 153–9. PMID 22962927.
  3. "[Immune status. Slim chance for infected hemophiliacs]". Fortschr. Med. (in German). 106 (18): 13. 1988. PMID 3215607.
  4. Heikkinen T, Järvinen A (2003). "The common cold". Lancet. 361 (9351): 51–9. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(03)12162-9. PMID 12517470.
  5. Heeler RM (1997). "Social ties and susceptibility to the common cold". JAMA. 278 (15): 1231–2. PMID 9333254.

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