Pathophysiology

Acute bronchitis, an infection of the conducting airways of the lung, produces inflammation, exudate, and sometimes bronchospasm of the involved airways. The majority of acute bronchitis is caused by viruses, including influenza A and B, adenovirus, parainfluenza virus, rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), coxsackievirus A21 and, less commonly, measles, rubella, herpesviruses, or coronaviruses.1 Enteroviruses such as coxsackievirus and echovirus may cause acute bronchitis, primarily in the summer, whereas rhinovirus may be suspect year round. Most other viruses cause bronchitis from early fall to spring. Influenza is more prevalent during the winter. Adults who have contact with children may develop acute bronchitis and pneumonia from RSV. 2 Measles and herpes simplex viruses may cause severe cases. Bacteria known to contribute to acute bronchitis include Bordatella pertussis, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae, and possibly Streptococcus pneumoniae .3

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