Influenza A Virus Infection, Innate Immunity, and Childhood

Coates, B. M.; Staricha, K. L.; Wiese, K. M.; Ridge, K. M.

JAMA Pediatr. 2015 Aug 4; 169(10):956-63


Infection with influenza A virus is responsible for considerable morbidity and mortality in children worldwide. While it is apparent that adequate activation of the innate immune system is essential for pathogen clearance and host survival, an excessive inflammatory response to infection is detrimental to the young host. A review of the literature indicates that innate immune responses change throughout childhood. Whether these changes are genetically programmed or triggered by environmental cues is unknown. The objectives of this review are to summarize the role of innate immunity in influenza A virus infection in the young child and to highlight possible differences between children and adults that may make children more susceptible to severe influenza A infection. A better understanding of age-related differences in innate immune signaling will be essential to improve care for this high-risk population.

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