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Viral Pneumonia Treatment & Management

  • Author: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: Ryland P Byrd, Jr, MD  more...
 
Updated: Jul 11, 2016
 

Approach Considerations

All viral pneumonia patients must receive supportive care with oxygen, rest, antipyretics, analgesics, nutrition, and close observation. See Table 2 below.

Table 2. Treatment and Prevention of Common Causes of Viral Pneumonia (Open Table in a new window)

Virus Treatment Prevention
Influenza virus Oseltamivir



Peramivir



Zanamivir



Influenza vaccine



Chemoprophylaxis with:



Zanamivir



Oseltamivir



Respiratory syncytial virus Ribavirin RSV immunoglobulin



Palivizumab



Parainfluenza virus Ribavirin  
Herpes simplex virus Acyclovir  
Varicella-zoster virus Acyclovir Varicella-zoster immunoglobulin
Adenovirus Ribavirin  
Measles virus Ribavirin Intravenous immunoglobulin
Cytomegalovirus Ganciclovir



Foscarnet



Intravenous immunoglobulin
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Supportive Care

Oxygen should be administered to patients with hypoxemia or shortness of breath. Emergency medical personnel should administer oxygen if the patient is dyspneic. Some prehospital providers can deliver aerosol treatments with beta-agonists, which may improve the patient's breathing. Patients with respiratory failure require endotracheal intubation and ventilator support.

Isotonic sodium chloride solution should be administered to patients who are in shock and have no component of heart failure.

Acute care may involve use of the following:

  • Oxygen, if the patient is dyspneic
  • Beta-agonists, if bronchospasm is present
  • Fluids, if dehydration is present
  • Acyclovir, if varicella or herpes pneumonia is suspected
  • Respiratory isolation
  • Antibiotics, if infiltrate is seen on the chest radiograph
  • Mechanical ventilation if respiratory failure is present or impending
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Influenza Pneumonia

Antiviral therapy is available for the treatment of influenza virus infection. The treatment of uncomplicated influenza is supportive in nature, consisting of rest and administration of antipyretics and analgesics. See Table 3 below.

Table 3. Characteristics of Anti-Influenza Drugs (Open Table in a new window)

  Amantadine



(Symmetrel)



Rimantadine



(Flumadine)



Zanamivir



(Relenza)



Oseltamivir



(Tamiflu)



Mechanism of action M2 ion channel blockade inhibits HAa cleavage beta block RNA encoding, which reduces early viral replication. Viral NAb inhibition prevents sialic acid cleavage from HA beta virus gets trapped inside cells, and epithelial spread is blocked.
Spectrum Influenza A only Influenza A only Influenza A and B Influenza A and B
Oral bioavailability Good Good Poor Good
Protein binding, % 67 40 None Minimal
Half-life, h 12-18 24-36 2.5-5 1-3
Excretion Renal (not removed by hemodialysis)   Renal and gastrointestinal Renal
Drug interaction Synergistic CNS toxicity with antihistamines, anticholinergics, CNS stimulants Beta Plasma level: ASAc, acetaminophen None None
Renal clearance TMP-SMZd, triamterene, hydrochlorothiazide, quinine sulfate, quinidine Cimetidine None None
a HA - Hemagglutinin



b NA - Neuraminidase



c ASA - Acetylsalicylic acid



d TMP-SMZ - Trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole



Amantadine hydrochloride and rimantadine hydrochloride are approved for the prevention and treatment of influenza A virus infection. They are not active against influenza B virus infection. Both drugs are absorbed well orally, block the viral M2 protein ion channel, and inhibit the uncoating of the virus. Rimantadine is a synthetic analog of amantadine and has comparable therapeutic efficacy.

Treatment with these compounds has been associated with the emergence of viral resistance. The clinical significance of this is not known. Many of the current strains are not susceptible to amantadine/rimantadine (including H1N1 influenza virus), so empiric use of these agents as the only drug is not recommended.

Oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir block the neuraminidase surface protein on both influenza A and influenza B viruses.[70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75]

These drugs trap the virus inside the infected respiratory epithelial cells and prevent spread to other cells. They are active against both influenza A and influenza B viruses. These newer drugs have a different safety profile and lower potential for inducing resistance, but they are much more expensive.

Peramivir (Rapivab) was approved by the FDA in December 2014 for use in adults as a single 600 mg IV dose. In clinical trials, a single intravenous dose of peramivir, a sialic acid analogue and a selective inhibitor of neuraminidases produced by influenza A and B viruses, is effective and well tolerated in subjects with uncomplicated seasonal influenza virus infection. At both 300 mg and 600 mg, peramivir significantly reduced the time to alleviation of symptoms in comparison with placebo.[76] Additional data from over 2,700 subjects treated with peramivir in 27 clinical trials also supported its approval. It was available in the United States by emergency protocol during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

The results of zanamivir studies have confirmed its efficacy only if therapy is started within 24-48 hours of symptom onset in febrile patients. Most studies have reported a similar window of opportunity for oseltamivir. Like the older agents, they reduce the course of influenza by approximately one day. Oseltamivir resistance emerged in the United States during the 2008-2009 influenza season.

For severe influenza pneumonia, antiviral medication should be given, even after the 48-hour window.

In a double-blind, randomized controlled trial, one inhalation of laninamivir octanoate was shown as effective for the treatment of seasonal influenza in adults. Effectiveness was also shown for the oseltamivir-resistant virus.[77]

H1N1 influenza

In the 2009-2010 H1N1 influenza epidemic, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended oseltamivir or zanamivir for treatment of all hospitalized patients with suspected or confirmed cases and for outpatients at increased risk for complications of H1N1 infection.

As of September 2009, only 28 of 10,000 H1N1 isolates tested were resistant to oseltamivir (11 from the United States), and all were susceptible to zanamivir.

Although intravenous peramivir had not been formally FDA approved for the treatment of influenza during the 2009-2010 H1N1 pandemic, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for its use in hospitalized patients who had potentially life-threatening suspected or laboratory confirmed infection with H1N1. Under the EUA, treatment with IV peramivir was approved for patients who had not responded to either oral or inhaled antiviral therapy and/or drug delivery by a route other than IV that was not expected to be dependable or feasible.

Early administration of corticosteroids in patients with H1N1 who are admitted to the ICU has no apparent benefit.[78]

Avian influenza

Avian H5N1 influenza should be treated with oseltamivir, even after the 48-hour window, because a reduction in mortality of hospitalized persons with seasonal influenza or avian influenza A (H5N1) virus infection was reported even when oseltamivir treatment was initiated later. The optimal duration and dose is not clear, but the WHO recommends consideration of higher dosage (eg, 150 mg PO bid) and longer duration in severe infections.

Avian H5N1 influenza has exhibited resistance to oseltamivir (clade 1 and subclade 2.1 with H274Y and N294S mutations). These resistant strains maintained susceptibility to zanamivir. Some viruses circulating in birds (subclade 2.3.4) demonstrated reduced susceptibility to zanamivir but sensitivity to the adamantanes (amantadine/rimantadine). Thus, for resistant strains (especially subclades 2.2 and 2.3.4), consideration for combination therapy with neuraminidase inhibitor-adamantane or oseltamivir-ribavirin, or even triple therapy with neuraminidase inhibitor-adamantane-ribavirin, should be given.[53]

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Respiratory Syncytial Virus Pneumonia

As with influenza, treatment of uncomplicated respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is supportive in nature.

Ribavirin, a nucleoside analog of guanosine, is the only effective antiviral agent currently available for the treatment of RSV pneumonia.[1] Ribavirin acts by interfering with viral transcription. This drug is delivered as a small-particle aerosol. Data conflict regarding the efficacy of ribavirin therapy in RSV pneumonia. Overall, the preponderance of data suggests a benefit of ribavirin therapy in high-risk patients, such as hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients.

Current recommendations are that ribavirin therapy should be considered only for severe illness and in high-risk patients for whom RSV infection is associated with high mortality, such as HSCT recipients.[54] In these hosts, high-dose, short-duration aerosolized ribavirin (60 mg/mL for 2 h given by mask tid) has been used.

RSV-specific intravenous immunoglobulin, such as palivizumab (Synagis), which is a monoclonal antibody directed against the RSV fusion (F) glycoprotein, has also been used with aerosolized and oral ribavirin in high-risk patients, such as HSCT recipients, because this combination has been shown to increase survival in this group.[49] Its use is endorsed in some guidelines, although not universally accepted or recommended.[79, 80]

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Adenovirus Pneumonia

Cidofovir has demonstrated good in vitro activity against adenoviruses, including serotype 14. Cidofovir has shown some efficacy in treating adenovirus infection in immunocompromised patients, especially HSCT recipients.[81] The dose is 5 mg/kg/wk for two weeks, then every two weeks plus probenecid 1.25 g/m2 given three hours before cidofovir and three and nine hours after each infusion. Alternate dosing is 1 mg/kg IV three times a week.

The in vitro activity of ribavirin against adenovirus, however, has been variable. For example, in one study, species C was susceptible to ribavirin, while other species were more variable.[82] Some anecdotal reports exist regarding improvement in some patients with HSCT and leukemia, although other studies have not shown any efficacy. Thus, routine use of ribavirin is not recommended.[83, 84, 85]

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Parainfluenza Virus Pneumonia

Treatment is mainly supportive in nature. Ribavirin has documented in vitro activity against parainfluenza virus (PIV), and aerosolized and oral ribavirin were associated with reduction in PIV shedding and clinical improvement in immunocompromised patients. Thus, in this latter, high-risk group, the use of ribavirin may be reasonable.[86]

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Human Metapneumovirus Pneumonia

Although ribavirin has activity against human metapneumovirus (hMPV) similar to that which it has against RSV and although animal data have shown some promise, treatment data in humans are lacking, being confined to occasional case reports predominantly in the transplantation population.[87, 88]

Immunoglobulin preparations (intravenous immunoglobulin [IVIG]) also seem to contain sufficient neutralizing titers, but this has not been extensively studied for use in hMPV pneumonia either—again with only isolated case reports in patients with transplantation, usually in combination with ribavirin.[89]

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Coronavirus Pneumonia

Protease inhibitors (eg, lopinavir/ritonavir) demonstrated antiviral activity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infection.[90] Interferon alfa and interferon beta have activity against SARS-CoV in vitro and in animal models. Limited human data seemed to demonstrate some beneficial effect.[91]

Ribavirin is not active against SARS-CoV in vitro, and studies have not shown clinical efficacy. Therefore, this medication is not recommended for this infection.[91]

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Varicella-Zoster Virus Pneumonia

Treatment of varicella pneumonia includes respiratory isolation until skin lesions heal, supportive care, administration of antiviral agents, and active and passive immunization. For treatment of documented varicella pneumonia in patients who are immunocompromised, acyclovir (10 mg/kg IV q8h for 7 d) has been shown to be effective.

For pregnant women in the third trimester, acyclovir at 10 mg/kg IV every eight hours for five days should be given, and consideration should be given for varicella-zoster immune globulin (VZIG) therapy.

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Measles Pneumonia

Treatment of measles pneumonia generally is supportive in nature. Children infected with HIV and adults who are immunosuppressed with measles pneumonia have been treated successfully with intravenous (20-35 mg/kg/d for 7 d) and aerosolized ribavirin, similar to the therapy for severe infections with RSV.[92]

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Cytomegalovirus Pneumonia

The primary treatment for acute cytomegalovirus (CMV) pneumonia in the immunocompromised patient (both HSCT and solid organ transplant [SOT] recipients) is ganciclovir (5 mg/kg IV 12h for 14-21 d, followed by valganciclovir 900 mg PO qd for suppression). Ganciclovir prevents viral DNA replication by inhibiting the enzyme DNA polymerase.

High-dose intravenous immunoglobulin (CMV immunoglobulin or IVIG) has been used successfully in conjunction with ganciclovir for the treatment of CMV pneumonia, decreasing the mortality rate to 0-47%. Combination therapy is based on the premise that lung injury is not solely due to direct damage by the virus but is a result of virally induced immunological reaction. In lung transplant recipients, ganciclovir with CMV immunoglobulin or IVIG has been associated with increased survival.[93]

Foscarnet sodium, an inhibitor of viral DNA polymerase and reverse transcriptase, is an alternative drug for use in ganciclovir-resistant CMV pneumonia. The combination of foscarnet with ganciclovir may provide antiviral synergy, but it requires careful monitoring.[94]

Cidofovir represents a third option, but scant data exist regarding its use in CMV pneumonia.

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Herpes Simplex Virus Pneumonia

Acyclovir inhibits viral DNA synthesis by competitively binding to viral DNA polymerase. Intravenous acyclovir (250 mg/m2 q8h) currently is the treatment of choice for herpes simplex virus (HSV) pneumonia. Because a significant proportion of patients may have concomitant bacterial pneumonia, empirical broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy that includes an antistaphylococcal drug should be instituted in patients with progressive HSV pneumonia who are unresponsive to antiviral therapy.

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Hantavirus Pneumonia

The treatment of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is supportive in nature and includes correction hypoxemia, lactic acidosis, and hypotension. Mechanical ventilation and optimal fluid management guided by hemodynamic monitoring are recommended, with avoidance of excessive administration of fluids and with use of cardiotonic drugs to counter the hemodynamic profile of decreased cardiac output and increased systemic vascular resistance. See the Cardiac Output calculator.

Although intravenous ribavirin has been associated with some success in the treatment of some Bunyaviridae viruses, such as Hantaan virus (hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome), Rift Valley fever virus, and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, it has failed to show any efficacy in HPS, perhaps because death typically occurred within 24-48 hours of hospitalization.[68]

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Prevention

Influenza

Annual fall vaccination of high-risk populations and healthcare workers is the most effective measure for decreasing morbidity and mortality from influenza.[80] Each year's influenza vaccine contains the three virus strains (usually two type A strains and 1 type B strain) considered most likely to cause outbreaks based on epidemiologic surveillance.

In the United States, specific recommendations for vaccination against influenza are issued each year by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).[95]

The effectiveness of the vaccine depends on the age and general health status of the recipient and the antigenic similarity to the virus causing outbreaks that year. When the vaccine matches the prevalent influenza virus strain, the efficacy of the vaccine in healthy adults is reported to be in the range of 70-90%.

The effectiveness of widespread vaccination in elderly persons has been called into question. A recent meta-analysis of the efficacy, effectiveness, and safety of the influenza vaccine in patients older than 65 years found that vaccination is of benefit to residents of long-term care facilities but is of modest value in the community.[96] However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommend immunization of all elderly patients.[95]

The CDC has recommended chemoprophylaxis in the following situations:

  • Close contacts of patients who are at high risk for complications of influenza.
  • Healthcare personnel, public health workers, and first responders who have had recognized and unprotected close contact exposure to a person with influenza during the person's infectious period (up to 7 d after onset of illness).

Chemoprophylaxis should be considered when outbreaks occur in nursing homes. Everyone in the institution, including the unvaccinated staff and other coworkers, should receive prophylactic therapy for at least two weeks during the outbreak.

The CDC issues updated interim guidance on antiviral treatment and prophylaxis of seasonal influenza, based on resistance patterns of the circulating viral strains.

Local influenza surveillance data and laboratory testing can also assist the physician regarding the antiviral agent choice.

Vaccines for avian H5N1 influenza are currently being developed and studied, and vaccinations have been performed in avian livestock (via whole-virus inactivated vaccine, recombinant fowlpox vaccine, and recombinant Newcastle disease vaccine.)

Respiratory syncytial virus

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) immunoglobulin is a pooled product containing immunoglobulin G antibodies against RSV. When administered intravenously to patients at high risk, fewer episodes of severe pneumonia requiring hospitalization have occurred.

An alternative to RSV immunoglobulin is palivizumab (Synagis), which is an intramuscularly administered humanized monoclonal antibody preparation. Prophylaxis with this agent results in a 55% reduction in hospitalization secondary to RSV infection in high-risk pediatric patients.

Vaccines are under development, including subunit vaccines directed against two major surface glycoproteins (F, G proteins), a polypeptide vaccine (BBG2Na), and live-attenuated vaccines, the latter of which have been promising in adults.

Adenovirus

An oral live vaccine was available against serotypes 4 and 7, taking advantage of the fact that exposure of these strains to the gastrointestinal tract does not result in illness. This vaccine was used primarily in military recruit populations, with excellent results, but it has not been available since 1999. Recrudescence of adenovirus type 3, 4, and 7 has occurred in the military.

Other live and inactivated virus vaccines have been hampered by their oncogenicity in animal models. Vaccines against the capsid (and free of DNA) are currently being studied.

Parainfluenza virus

No vaccine is available, but live, attenuated, intranasally administered parainfluenza type 3 vaccines were under development.

Human metapneumovirus

No vaccine is available, although a live-attenuated bovine parainfluenza virus type 3 vaccine with human metapneumovirus F gene was being studied.[97]

Varicella-zoster virus

A live attenuated varicella vaccine is recommended for patients who did not have varicella infection by age 13 years and for anyone who is susceptible to varicella-zoster virus (VZV) (VZV antibody negative). The vaccine should not be given to pregnant women. Children are now routinely immunized before age 12-18 months.

Intramuscular administration of varicella-zoster immunoglobulin (125 U/10 kg to 625 units maximum) is indicated as passive immunization of VZV-seronegative personnel at risk for complications within 96 hours of being exposed to VZV (eg, immunosuppressed hosts, such as those with HIV or with malignancies; those on long-term steroid therapy; pregnant patients, and neonates whose mothers acquire VZV within five days before, to 48 hours after, delivery).

Measles

The measles vaccine is a live attenuated virus vaccine (part of measles-mumps-rubella [MMR] vaccine) and should be given to everyone except pregnant women or persons who are severely immunocompromised. HIV-infected persons who are asymptomatic or only mildly symptomatic should be vaccinated.

Postexposure prophylaxis of patients who are immunocompromised with intravenous immune globulin is effective if administered within 6 days of exposure to infectious cases of measles.

Cytomegalovirus

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is prevented in transplant patients by attempts to match the CMV seropositivity between the donor and the recipient and by careful administration of CMV-negative transfusions of blood and blood products.

Hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients who are CMV-negative are given prophylactic ganciclovir before and after transplantation. Solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients who are CMV-negative and receiving their organ from CMV-positive donors typically receive ganciclovir for three months post transplantation.

Preemptive therapy (with ganciclovir) based on detection of CMV in bronchoalveolar lavage specimens, CMV pp65 antigenemia, and/or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in blood after transplantation has been shown to significantly reduce the incidence of post-transplant CMV pneumonia.

Herpes simplex virus

Chemoprophylaxis of high-risk seropositive patients during induction of immunosuppression for transplantation is recommended.

Acyclovir is routinely prescribed at maintenance doses for the first month after transplantation.

Hantavirus

No vaccine is available or in development. The only means of deterrence is by avoiding rodent contact and/or inhalation/aerosolization of areas of possible rodent excreta. If contact is unavoidable (ie, need to sweep dirty areas where rodents live), use of a respiratory mask is prudent.

Hematopoietic cell transplantation recipients

An international committee has produced guidelines for preventing infectious complications among HCT recipients. These guidelines include recommendations on use of antivirals for prevention or preemptive treatment of specific infections, as well as recommendations on vaccines.[98]

Complications

Most viral pneumonias in immunocompetent hosts resolve with few sequelae. However, respiratory failure may develop secondary to superimposed bacterial infection.

Secondary bacterial infections are common. Common organisms are Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus,Streptococcus pyogenes (group A Streptococcus), and Haemophilus influenzae.

Late sequelae of viral pneumonias include bronchitis and bronchiolitis, especially following infection with RSV and influenza viruses.

Adenovirus serotypes 2, 3, 7, and 21 have been the cause of serious chronic morbidity after acute respiratory illness, including irreversible atelectasis, bronchiectasis, bronchiolitis obliterans, and unilateral hyperlucent lung. An estimated 14-60% of these children will suffer some degree of permanent lung damage. Serious sequelae occurred in patients who survive severe infection with adenovirus 14.

A retrospective cohort study of 100 children with RSV revealed a 79% complication rate. Nearly 24% were considered serious, and 16% of children required mechanical ventilation. The authors concluded that RSV infections in children considerably lengthen their hospital stay and medical costs. In fact, hospital costs approach $1 billion annually in the United States. In addition, 20% of all patients are rehospitalized, and more than 40% develop asthma.

Complications of RSV pneumonia in children are a considerable burden on hospital costs. About 60% of the complications are respiratory and consist of respiratory failure, apnea, stridor, hemoptysis, infiltrates and/or atelectasis, hyperinflation, pneumothorax, or pleural effusions. About 15% of radiographs are described as normal in children with complications. Prematurity and congenital diseases are risk factors for complications.

Viral (mainly PIV) or bacterial (especially S pneumoniae) superinfections, tuberculosis reactivation, and subsequent bronchiectasis are complications of measles pneumonia.

Temporary decreases in the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and/or forced vital capacity (FVC) or a permanent decrease in the lung transfer factor for carbon monoxide (TLCO) are reported in patients with VZV pneumonia. One case of VZV pneumonia complicated by a bacterial lung abscess in a child is reported.

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Consultations

Patients suspected of having viral pneumonia may benefit from consultation with pulmonary and infectious diseases specialists.

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP Geri and Richard Brawerman Chair in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Professor and Executive Vice Chairman, Department of Medicine, Medical Director, Women's Guild Lung Institute, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine

Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Physicians, American Federation for Medical Research, American Thoracic Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Coauthor(s)

Nader Kamangar, MD, FACP, FCCP, FCCM Professor of Clinical Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine; Chief, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Vice-Chair, Department of Medicine, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center

Nader Kamangar, MD, FACP, FCCP, FCCM is a member of the following medical societies: Academy of Persian Physicians, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, American Association for Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Critical Care Medicine, American College of Physicians, American Lung Association, American Medical Association, American Thoracic Society, Association of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Program Directors, Association of Specialty Professors, California Sleep Society, California Thoracic Society, Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine, Society of Critical Care Medicine, Trudeau Society of Los Angeles, World Association for Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Arthur Jeng, MD Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine

Arthur Jeng, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Infectious Diseases Society of America

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Ryland P Byrd, Jr, MD Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine, James H Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University

Ryland P Byrd, Jr, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

Shakeel Amanullah, MD Consulting Physician, Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Lancaster General Hospital

Shakeel Amanullah, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society, and Society of Critical Care Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Michael S Beeson, MD, MBA, FACEP Professor of Emergency Medicine, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and Pharmacy; Attending Faculty, Akron General Medical Center

Michael S Beeson, MD, MBA, FACEP is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Emergency Physicians, Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors, National Association of EMS Physicians, and Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Paul Blackburn, DO, FACOEP, FACEP Attending Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, Maricopa Medical Center

Paul Blackburn, DO, FACOEP, FACEP is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians, American Medical Association, and Arizona Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Dan V Dinescu, MD Fellow in Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Dan V Dinescu, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, American Medical Association, American Thoracic Society, Medical Society of the State of New York, and Society of Critical Care Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Kavita Garg, MD Professor, Department of Radiology, University of Colorado School of Medicine

Kavita Garg, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Radiology, American Roentgen Ray Society, Radiological Society of North America, and Society of Thoracic Radiology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Gloria J Kuhn, DO, PhD, FACEP Professor, Vice-Chair of Academic Affairs, Dept of Emergency Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine; Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Emergency Medicine, Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Gloria J Kuhn, DO, PhD, FACEP is a member of the following medical societies: American Osteopathic Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Robert E O'Connor, MD, MPH Professor and Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Virginia Health System

Robert E O'Connor, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Emergency Medicine, American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Physician Executives, American Heart Association, American Medical Association, Medical Society of Delaware, National Association of EMS Physicians, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, and Wilderness Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Mark L Shapiro, MD Chief, Department of Radiology, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center

Mark L Shapiro, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Radiology, American Roentgen Ray Society, and Radiological Society of North America

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Sat Sharma, MD, FRCPC Professor and Head, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Manitoba; Site Director, Respiratory Medicine, St Boniface General Hospital

Sat Sharma, MD, FRCPC is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, American Thoracic Society, Canadian Medical Association, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Royal Society of Medicine, Society of Critical Care Medicine, and World Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Satinder P Singh, MD, FCCP Professor of Radiology and Medicine, Chief of Cardiopulmonary Radiology, Director of Cardiac CT, Director of Combined Cardiopulmonary and Abdominal Radiology, Department of Radiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Eric J Stern, MD Professor of Radiology, Adjunct Professor of Medicine, Adjunct Professor of Medical Education and Biomedical Informatics, Adjunct Professor of Global Health, Vice-Chair, Academic Affairs, University of Washington School of Medicine

Eric J Stern, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Roentgen Ray Society, Association of University Radiologists, European Society of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America, and Society of Thoracic Radiology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Medscape Salary Employment

Mark R Wallace, MD, FACP, FIDSA Clinical Professor of Medicine, Florida State University College of Medicine; Head of Infectious Disease Fellowship Program, Orlando Regional Medical Center

Mark R Wallace, MD, FACP, FIDSA is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and Infectious Diseases Society of America

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Pneumonia, viral: A 52-year-old woman developed fever, cough, and dyspnea. She also developed a rash that was prominent over the face and the trunk. The chest radiograph showed interstitial infiltrates, with suggestion of a micronodular process. The Tzanck smear results from the skin vesicle suggest varicella-zoster virus.
Pneumonia, viral: A 52-year-old woman developed fever, cough, and dyspnea. She also developed a rash that was prominent over the face and the trunk. The chest radiograph showed interstitial infiltrates, with suggestion of a micronodular process. The Tzanck smear results from the skin vesicle suggest varicella-zoster virus. She was treated with acyclovir; resolution of varicella-zoster virus infection occurred after 7 days of therapy.
Bilateral interstitial infiltrates in a 31-year-old patient with influenza pneumonia.
Right-middle-lobe infiltrate in a 2-month-old boy with pneumonia due to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
High-power Papanicolaou (Pap) stain showing a virus on a bronchial wash. Viruses in general show "smudgy" nuclei, may or may not show nuclear or cytoplasmic inclusions, and may demonstrate other features such as multinucleation or margination of chromatin to the periphery of the cell nucleus. Certain features are more indicative of one virus over another. This is an example of herpes virus (cells infected are located in the center right).
High-power Papanicolaou (Pap) stain of cytomegalovirus (center). This cell has a very large, dark intranuclear inclusion.
High-power hematoxin-and-eosin stain of giant cell pneumonia following measles. A multinucleated cell (center) contains eosinophilic intranuclear inclusions.
High-power hematoxin-and-eosin stain of numerous cells infected with the cytomegalovirus (large cells with enlarged nuclei containing dark-purple intranuclear inclusions surrounded by a clear halo).
High-power hematoxin-and-eosin stained herpes simplexvirus, characterized by "smudgy" degenerating nuclei. Some cells are multinucleated with margination of the chromatin to the periphery of the nuclei and molding of the nuclei to each other.
Table 1. Diagnostic Techniques Used for Viral Pneumonia
Virus Viral Culture Cytologic Evaluation Rapid Antigen Detection Gene Amplification
Influenza virus HAa, SVb   IFc, ELISAd RT-PCRe
Adenovirus CEf, SV Intranuclear inclusions IF, ELISA RT-PCR
Paramyxoviruses
Respiratory syncytial virus CE, SV Eosinophilic cytoplasmic inclusions IF, ELISA RT-PCR
Parainfluenza virus HA, SV Eosinophilic intranuclear inclusions IF, ELISA RT-PCR
Measles virus HA      
Herpes viruses
Herpes simplex virus CE, SV Cytoplasmic inclusions IF, ELISA PCR
Varicella-zoster virus CE Cytoplasmic inclusions IF RT-PCR
Cytomegalovirus CE, SV "Owl's eye" cells IF, ELISA RT-PCR
Hantavirus     Antibodies against FCVg FVC RNA by RT-PCR
a HA - Hemaglutination



b SV - Shell viral culture



c IF - Immunofluorescence



d ELISA - Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay



eRT-PCR - Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction



fCE - Cytopathogenic effects



gFCV - Four corners virus



Table 2. Treatment and Prevention of Common Causes of Viral Pneumonia
Virus Treatment Prevention
Influenza virus Oseltamivir



Peramivir



Zanamivir



Influenza vaccine



Chemoprophylaxis with:



Zanamivir



Oseltamivir



Respiratory syncytial virus Ribavirin RSV immunoglobulin



Palivizumab



Parainfluenza virus Ribavirin  
Herpes simplex virus Acyclovir  
Varicella-zoster virus Acyclovir Varicella-zoster immunoglobulin
Adenovirus Ribavirin  
Measles virus Ribavirin Intravenous immunoglobulin
Cytomegalovirus Ganciclovir



Foscarnet



Intravenous immunoglobulin
Table 3. Characteristics of Anti-Influenza Drugs
  Amantadine



(Symmetrel)



Rimantadine



(Flumadine)



Zanamivir



(Relenza)



Oseltamivir



(Tamiflu)



Mechanism of action M2 ion channel blockade inhibits HAa cleavage beta block RNA encoding, which reduces early viral replication. Viral NAb inhibition prevents sialic acid cleavage from HA beta virus gets trapped inside cells, and epithelial spread is blocked.
Spectrum Influenza A only Influenza A only Influenza A and B Influenza A and B
Oral bioavailability Good Good Poor Good
Protein binding, % 67 40 None Minimal
Half-life, h 12-18 24-36 2.5-5 1-3
Excretion Renal (not removed by hemodialysis)   Renal and gastrointestinal Renal
Drug interaction Synergistic CNS toxicity with antihistamines, anticholinergics, CNS stimulants Beta Plasma level: ASAc, acetaminophen None None
Renal clearance TMP-SMZd, triamterene, hydrochlorothiazide, quinine sulfate, quinidine Cimetidine None None
a HA - Hemagglutinin



b NA - Neuraminidase



c ASA - Acetylsalicylic acid



d TMP-SMZ - Trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole



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