Etiology

Acute epiglottitis (inflammation of the epiglottis) is virtually always caused by Haemophilus influenzae type B; rare cases have been due to Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus. Laryngitis is usually due to the common respiratory viral agents, the most important of which are adenoviruses and influenza viruses.

Laryngotracheitis and spasmodic croup are common illnesses in children and are due to viruses or Mycoplasma pneumoniae. The most important agent is parainfluenza virus type 1. This virus, as well as parainfluenza type 2 and influenza A and B viruses, results in outbreaks of disease. In areas of the world

Table VIII.30.1. Classification of crouplike illnesses

Infectious

Epiglottitis

Laryngitis

Laryngotracheitis and spasmodic croup

Laryngotracheobronchitis

Laryngotracheobronchiopneumonitis

Mechanical Foreign body Postintubation trauma

Allergic

Acute angioneurotic edema where diphtheria toxoid immunization is not carried out, laryngotracheitis is also caused by Coryne-bacterium diphtheria.

Laryngotracheobronchitis and laryngotracheo-bronchiopneumonitis are frequently caused by the same viruses that cause laryngotracheitis. These two illnesses are caused also by S. aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, S. pneumoniae, and H. influenzae.

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