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Thorax doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2012-203009
  • Chest clinic
  • Basic science for the chest physician

Obesity and susceptibility to severe outcomes following respiratory viral infection

  1. Sebastian L Johnston1
  1. 1Airway Disease Infection Section, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, UK
  2. 2Department of Influenza, Imperial College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Sebastian L Johnston, Airway Disease Infection Section, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, UK; s.johnston{at}imperial.ac.uk
  • Received 21 January 2013
  • Accepted 1 February 2013
  • Published Online First 22 February 2013

Abstract

During the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, obesity was convincingly identified as a novel, independent risk factor for multiple markers of disease severity. Associations between numerous nosocomial and community-acquired clinical infections have previously been established; yet, little is known about the mechanisms underpinning the increased susceptibility to severe outcomes following pandemic H1N1/09 infection in obesity. Here, we present a brief synthesis of the recent advances in our understanding of the immunomodulatory effects of obesity on outcomes following respiratory viral infection, with a particular focus on pandemic influenza.


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