Document Detail

Incidence, etiology, and symptomatology of upper respiratory illness in elite athletes.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17414793     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
PURPOSE: Upper respiratory illness (URI) is the most common medical condition affecting elite athletes. The aims of this study were to identify and evaluate the incidence, pathogenic etiology, and symptomatology of acute URI during a 5-month training and competition period. METHODS: Thirty-two elite and 31 recreationally competitive triathletes and cyclists, and 20 sedentary controls (age range 18.0-34.1 yr) participated in a prospective surveillance study. Nasopharyngeal and throat swabs were collected from subjects presenting with two or more defined upper respiratory symptoms. Swabs were analyzed using microscopy, culture, and PCR testing for typical and atypical respiratory pathogens. The Wisconsin Upper Respiratory Symptom Survey (WURSS-44) was used to assess symptomatology and functional impairment. RESULTS: Thirty-seven URI episodes were reported in 28 subjects. Incidence rate ratios for illness were higher in both the control subjects (1.93, 95% CI: 0.72-5.18) and elite athletes (4.50, 1.91-10.59) than in the recreationally competitive athletes. Infectious agents were identified in only 11 (two control, three recreationally competitive, and six elite) out of 37 illness episodes. Rhinovirus was the most common respiratory pathogen isolated. Symptom and functional impairment severity scores were higher in subjects with an infectious pathogen episode, particularly on illness days 3-4. CONCLUSION: The results confirm a higher rate of URI among elite athletes than recreationally competitive athletes during this training and competition season. However, because pathogens were isolated in fewer than 30% of URI cases, further study is required to uncover the causes of unidentified but symptomatic URI in athletes. Despite the common perception that all URI are infections, physicians should consider both infectious and noninfectious causes when athletes present with symptoms.
Luke Spence; Wendy J Brown; David B Pyne; Michael D Nissen; Theo P Sloots; Joseph G McCormack; A Simon Locke; Peter A Fricker
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Medicine and science in sports and exercise     Volume:  39     ISSN:  0195-9131     ISO Abbreviation:  Med Sci Sports Exerc     Publication Date:  2007 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-04-06     Completed Date:  2007-06-27     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8005433     Medline TA:  Med Sci Sports Exerc     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  577-86     Citation Subset:  IM; S    
School of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
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MeSH Terms
Australia / epidemiology
Common Cold
Health Surveys
Population Surveillance
Prospective Studies
Respiratory Tract Infections* / diagnosis,  epidemiology,  etiology

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