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Influenza and parainfluenza viruses (PIVs) are among the most common respiratory pathogens that affect infants and children worldwide. Infections and their complications are responsible for a significant number of hospitalizations and fatalities on a yearly basis. In most temperate climate countries, seasonal patterns of disease are observed. In warmer climates, disease can be observed year round. The fear of an influenza pandemic looms when new strains are discovered. Recognition and prevention become pressing priorities. In recent years, a greater emphasis in preventing influenza through vaccination has emerged within the United States. Many health care systems have mandatory vaccinations programs for health care professionals. In addition, vaccination is now recommended for all persons 6 months or older. Available antiviral agents are effective not only as therapy but also as preventive agents.

PIVs are the most common cause of laryngotracheitis or croup in...

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