Severe influenza in children: incidence and risk factors

Nicola Principi, Susanna Esposito

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: The identification of factors that can predispose to the development of severe influenza is essential to enable the implementation of optimal prevention and control measures for vulnerable populations. Areas covered: Unfortunately, data in the pediatric age group remain difficult to interpret. However, epidemiological data seem to suggest that the most severe influenza cases, those who are hospitalized, those who are admitted to the intensive care unit, and those who died, occur in children in the first 2 years of life and in school age patients. Expert commentary: Immaturity of the immune system, and in particular of the mechanisms that usually recognize influenza viruses and activate cytokine and chemokine responses to reduce viral replication, might explain the high hospitalization rate observed in the youngest patients. Some underlying chronic conditions favour the development of the severe cases, sometime leading to death, although both admission to the intensive care unit and death can occur in otherwise healthy subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)961-968
Number of pages8
JournalExpert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2 2016


  • Children
  • influenza
  • paediatric age
  • prevention
  • severe influenza
  • vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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