Incidence, etiology, and symptomatology of upper respiratory illness in elite athletes

Spence, Luke, Brown, Wendy J., Pyne, David B., Nissen, Michael D., Sloots, Theo P., McCormack, Joseph G., Locke, A. Simon and Fricker, Peter A. (2007) Incidence, etiology, and symptomatology of upper respiratory illness in elite athletes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 39 4: 577-586. doi:10.1249/mss.0b013e31802e851a

Author Spence, Luke
Brown, Wendy J.
Pyne, David B.
Nissen, Michael D.
Sloots, Theo P.
McCormack, Joseph G.
Locke, A. Simon
Fricker, Peter A.
Title Incidence, etiology, and symptomatology of upper respiratory illness in elite athletes
Journal name Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0195-9131
Publication date 2007-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1249/mss.0b013e31802e851a
Volume 39
Issue 4
Start page 577
End page 586
Total pages 10
Editor K. Pandolf
K. O. Wilson
Place of publication Philadelphia
Publisher Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Language eng
Subject C1
321401 Exercise Physiology
321299 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
730102 Immune system and allergy
Abstract 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 (W-URSS-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.
Keyword Sport Sciences
common cold
Barr-virus Reactivation
Oat Beta-glucan
Tract Infections
Moderate Exercise
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

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Created: Tue, 19 Feb 2008, 02:48:44 EST