- Viral pneumonia
MeshID = D011024
Viral pneumonia is an
inflammationof the lungcaused by a virus. Viruses are the most common cause of pneumoniain children.
Symptoms of viral pneumonia include fever, non-productive cough, rhinitis, and systemic symptoms (e.g. myalgia, headache). Different viruses cause different symptoms.
Viruses must invade cells in order to reproduce. Typically, a virus will reach the lungs by traveling in droplets through the
mouthand nosewith inhalation. There, the virus invades the cells lining the airways and the alveoli. This invasion often leads to cell death either through direct killing by the virus or by self-destruction through apoptosis. Further damage to the lungs occurs when the immune system responds to the infection. White blood cells, in particular lymphocytes, are responsible for activating a variety of chemicals ( cytokines) which cause leaking of fluid into the alveoli. The combination of cellular destruction and fluid-filled alveoli interrupts the transportation of oxygen into the bloodstream. In addition to the effects on the lungs, many viruses affect other organs and can lead to illness affecting many different bodily functions. Viruses also make the body more susceptible to bacterial infection; for this reason, bacterial pneumonia often complicates viral pneumonia.
Viruses that commonly cause pneumonia include:
* "Respiratory syncytial virus" (RSV)
Viruses that rarely cause pneumonia include:
Herpes simplex virus" (HSV), mainly in newborns
Varicella-zoster virus" (VZV)
Cytomegalovirus" (CMV), mainly in people with immune system problems
In cases of viral pneumonia where influenza A or B are thought to be causative agents, patients who are seen within 48 hours of symptom onset may benefit from treatment with
oseltamiviror zanamivir. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) may be treated with ribavirin. Herpes simplex virusand varicella-zoster virusinfections are usually treated with aciclovir, whilst gancicloviris used to treat cytomegalovirus. There is no known efficacious treatment for pneumonia caused by SARS coronavirus, adenovirus, hantavirus, or parainfluenzavirus; treatment is largely supportive.
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