Viral Respiratory Infections in Children Receiving Chemotherapy or Undergoing Stem Cell Transplantation

Christianna Vliora, Garyfallia Syridou and Vassiliki Papaevangelou

In immunocompromised hematology/oncology patients, respiratory infections are both common and potentially severe. However, there is still a noticeable gap in the medical literature, regarding the epidemiology of viral respiratory infections in pediatric hematology/oncology patients. This is mainly due to research being focused on readily treatable causes and to limitations by time-consuming diagnostic techniques. Recent developments, though, have produced sensitive and accurate methods for detecting viruses, yielding results within hours and able to screen for multiple species and subtypes, illuminating at the same time “novel” viruses that cause disease in immunocompromised patients. In this review, the epidemiology and disease burden of viral respiratory infections among pediatric oncology patients and hemopoietic stem cell transplantation recipients are discussed. Additionally, recent therapeutic and preventive options promising improved outcomes are reviewed.