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Infectious Disease Online

Pathology of Parainfluenza Virus Infection

Dr Sampurna Roy MD





Syn:  Human Parainfluenza Virus Infection      

The parainfluenza viruses are important causes of respiratory disease in infants and young children.


Transmission electron micrograph of parainfluenza virus. Transmission electron micrograph of parainfluenza virus. Two intact particles and free filamentous nucleocapsid. (CDC/Dr. Erskine Palmer)

They are indeed the most common identifiable agents in  the croup syndrome and are second only to respiratory syncytial virus as a cause of lower respiratory disease requiring hospitalization in infants.

The parainfluenza viruses are distributed worldwide, and the best evidence of infection is a fourfold rise of antibody titre in convalescent serum collected 3 to 4 weeks after infection.

The clinical manifestations vary from no illness or a very mild cold episode to life-threatening croup and bronchiolitis.

The most common symptom associated with parainfluenza is a "cold".

The viruses are transmitted from person to person by transfer of respiratory tract secretions.

The virus infects the cells of the upper respiratory tract mucosa, and multiplication of the viruses in those cells is probably the pathogenic substrate of the most common clinical manifestation.

Parainfluenze virus antigen have been demonstrated by immunoflourescence in the ciliated columnar epithelial cells in the nasal secretions of ill children.

When the lung is involved, the pathologic changes are indistinguishable from those produced by other viral pneumonias.

Visit: Influenza (Orthomyxoviruses)


Further reading

Parainfluenza viral infections in pediatric outpatients:

Current status of vaccines for parainfluenza virus infections.

Parainfluenza virus infections in children

Respiratory syncytial virus and parainfluenza virus infections

Epidemiology and clinical impact of parainfluenza virus infections

Parainfluenza virus infection in adult lung transplant recipients:

Parainfluenza virus infection among adults hospitalized

Seasonal trends of human parainfluenza viral infections: United States, 1990-2004.

Human parainfluenza virus type 4 infections: a report of 20 cases from 1998 to 2002.

Human parainfluenza virus 4 outbreak and the role of diagnostic tests.

Pathology of parainfluenza virus infection in patients with congenital immunodeficiency syndromes.

Parainfluenza virus type 4 infections.

Detection and identification of human parainfluenza viruses 1, 2, 3, and 4 in clinical samples of pediatric patients by multiplex reverse transcription-PCR.



Dr Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant  Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)






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