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Lower respiratory tract infections are generally more serious than upper respiratory infections. LRIs are the leading cause of death among all infectious diseases. The two most common LRIs are bronchitis and pneumonia.Influenza affects both the upper and lower respiratory tracts, but more dangerous strains such as the highly pernicious H5N1 tend to bind to receptors deep in the lungs.
Deaths from respiratory infections per million persons in 2012
A 2014 systematic review of clinical trials does not support using routine rapid viral testing to decrease antibiotic use for children in emergency departments. It is unclear if rapid viral testing in the emergency department for children with acute febrile respiratory infections reduces the rates of antibiotic use, blood testing, or urine testing. The relative risk reduction of chest x-ray utilization in children screened with rapid viral testing is 77% compared with controls. In 2013 researchers developed a breath tester that can promptly diagnose lung infections.
Despite superior filtration capability of N95 filtering facepiece respirators measured in vitro, insufficient clinical evidence has been published to determine whether normal surgical masks and N95 filtering facepiece respirators are equivalent with respect to preventing respiratory infections in healthcare workers.
There is another form of respiratory tract infections' prevention when managing adults in intensive care units, it is recommended to use both topical and systematic antibiotics as prophylaxis against the infection and the overall mortality. However children under 5 years are a high-risk group too, there is no sufficient evidence recommends the antibiotic use as a prophylaxis against the possible suppurative complications of any RTI of unknown cause.
^D'Amico, Roberto; Pifferi, Silvia; Torri, Valter; Brazzi, Luca; Parmelli, Elena; Liberati, Alessandro (7 October 2009). "Antibiotic prophylaxis to reduce respiratory tract infections and mortality in adults receiving intensive care". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD000022.pub3.
^Alves Galvão, Márcia G; Rocha Crispino Santos, Marilene Augusta; Alves da Cunha, Antonio JL (29 February 2016). "Antibiotics for preventing suppurative complications from undifferentiated acute respiratory infections in children under five years of age". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD007880.pub3.