Introduction

In this study session, you will learn about acute respiratory tract infections (ARIs). The respiratory tract (or ‘airways’) includes all the parts of the body that enable us to breathe. ARIs are infections of the respiratory tract by either bacteria or viruses, and the term ‘acute’ indicates that the illness is of short duration (less than two weeks). ARIs are the leading cause of illness and death among young children everywhere in the developing world (figure below).

A better knowledge of ARIs will enable you to detect children with an ARI more quickly and give appropriate treatment, or refer them if the disease is severe.

World map showing estimates of the percentage of deaths in children aged under five

Estimates of the percentage of deaths in children aged under five years from ARIs in the year 2000. (Source:Pathogens and People (S320 Book 1), fig 1.13, p.32, based on data from Williams, B.G. et al. (2002), The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 2)
Last modified: Wednesday, 9 July 2014, 1:14 PM