Influenza and Upper Respiratory Illness Prevalence Validation



The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 35 to 50 million Americans come down with the flu during each flu season which typically lasts from November to March. Children are two to three times more likely than adults to get sick with the flu, and children frequently spread the virus to others. Although most people recover from the illness, CDC estimates that in the United States more than 100,000 people are hospitalized and more than 20,000 people die from the flu and its complications every year.


The average cost of each influenza epidemic is $12 million, including the direct costs of medical care and indirect costs resulting from lost work days. It is projected that the next pandemic will cost the United States $70 billion to $160 billion.


Source: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/National Institutes of Health-July 2001 Influenza Fact Sheet & The Cleveland Clinic Foundation




During 2000, an estimated 10 million U.S. adults reported physician-diagnosed COPD. However, data from NHANES III (National Health and Examination Survey) estimate that approximately 24 million U.S. adults have evidence of impaired lung function. Also, a lot of cases of acute bronchitis, pneumonia and similar illnesses have been misdiagnosed as COPD and inhalers have been incorrectly prescribed. The above indicates that at present COPD requires more research and better diagnostic tools. During 2000, COPD was responsible for 8 million-physician office and hospital outpatient visits, 1.5 million emergency department visits, 726,000 hospitalizations, and 119,000 deaths.


The direct and indirect costs of COPD and COPD-like upper respiratory illnesses to the U.S. in 2000 were estimated to be nearly $30.4 billion. Direct costs (expenditures for hospital care, physician and other professional care, home care, nursing home care, and drugs) accounted for $14.7 billion and indirect costs (lost earnings due to illness and lost future earnings resulting from death) were $15.7 billion.


Source: CDC MMWR Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Surveillance – United States, 1971 – 2000 & National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute




Acute URI: URI is a nonspecific upper respiratory infection in which sinus, pharyngeal and lower airway symptoms are frequently present but are not prominent. No national prevalence figures found.


Bronchitis: Bronchitis is an inflammation of the mucous membranes of the bronchi (the larger and medium-sized airways that carry airflow from the trachea into the more distal parts of the lung parenchyma). In 1999, the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) estimated the nationwide annual prevalence of diagnosed chronic bronchitis at 8.8 million. The incidence is two out of 100 people.


Source: American Lung Association & The National Library of Medicine


Chronic Airway Obstruction: See COPD for prevalence information.


Other: Prevalence to be added at a later time.


Otitis Media, inflammation of middle ear. Seventy-five percent of children experience at least one episode of otitis media by their third birthday. Almost half of these children will have three or more ear infections during their first 3 years. It is estimated that medical costs and lost wages because of otitis media amount to $5 billion* a year in the United States.


Source: The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)


Pneumonia: Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—affecting primarily the microscopic air sacs known as alveoli. It is usually caused by infection with viruses or bacteria and less commonly other microorganisms, certain drugs and other conditions such as autoimmune diseases. In 1996 there were an estimated 4.8 million cases of pneumonia. In 1998, there were approximately 1.3 million hospitalizations, 1.3 million emergency room visits, and an annual cost of approximately $23 billion.


Source: American Lung Association


Pharyngitis: Pharyngitis is an inflammation of the throat. It can be acute (typically caused by a viral infection, with the smaller cases caused by bacteria or fungal infection) or chronic. Group A Beta-hemolytic streptococci are the most common bacterial cause of pharyngitis. It occurs most commonly from October to April, often in children 5 to 10 years old but also in adults. The incidence is 5 out of 1000 people. Acute pharyngitis accounts for 1% to 2% of all visits to outpatient and emergency departments, resulting in 7 million annual visits by adults alone.


Source: The National Library of Medicine & The Cleveland Clinic Foundation


Sinusitis: Sinusitis or rhinosinusitis is inflammation of the paranasal sinuses. It can be due to infection, allergy, or autoimmune problems. Most cases are due to a viral infection and resolve within 2 weeks. Sinusitis affects approximately 3 out of 1,000 people, and develops in approximately 31 million Americans alone each year.


Source: The National Library of Medicine