Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and in some cases asthma. Symptoms include breathing difficulty, cough, mucus production and wheezing. People with COPD are at increased risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer and a variety of other conditions.

Almost 15.7 million Americans (6.4%) reported that they have been diagnosed with COPD. More than 50% of adults with low pulmonary function were not aware that they had COPD. It typically occurs in people over the age of 40. Males and females are affected equally commonly. In 2015, COPD affected about 174.5 million (2.4%) of the global population and resulted in 3.2 million deaths, up from 2.4 million deaths in 1990. 

Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) affects the lung and airways, and is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children under 1 year of age in the United States; RSV is the main cause of hospitalization in this age group. Infants infected with RSV during childhood are thought to be more likely to develop childhood asthma or wheezing. Almost all children are infected with RSV before the age of two. There is no vaccine against RSV, and treatment of active infection in children is supportive only i.e. there is no specific antiviral treatment available. Because the body's immune system does not build up protective immunity against RSV infection, and because there is no vaccine, repeated infection with RSV occurs through childhood and adult life. People with poor immune systems, those aged 65 years or more, and those with chronic lung or airway disease are particularly at risk if they suffer RSV infection.

Influenza Virus

Influenza, commonly known as "flu", is a highly infectious respiratory disease caused by any one of a number of influenza viruses. Infection can lead to an illness ranging in severity from mild to moderate to severe; complicated or severe influenza may lead to death. Common symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle and body ache, headache, and fatigue; children may also exhibit vomiting and diarrhea. Neurological complications are also well described. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), influenza occurs worldwide, with an estimated annual incidence of 5% to 10% in adults and 20% to 30% in children. Influenza can lead to hospitalization and death, especially in high-risk groups (younger patients, geriatric patients, and those with chronic disease). Estimates are that influenza causes 3 to 5 million serious illnesses per year, and as many as 500,000 deaths. 

Each year in the United States, approximately 36,000 deaths are directly attributed to influenza, and the virus hospitalizes more than 200,000 people.

Hepatitis B Virus

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver. It is caused when the hepatitis B virus (HBV) infects the liver.

Hepatitis B is transmitted when blood, semen, or other body fluids from an infected person enters the body of an uninfected person. This may happen through sexual contact, the sharing of needles, syringes, other drug-injection equipment, or from mother-to-baby transmission during childbirth. HBV causes both acute and chronic infections. The risk of developing chronic infection is related to one’s age at infection: approximately 90% of infected infants become chronically infected, compared with 2%–6% of adults. Chronic Hepatitis B can have serious complications, leading to cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, and death.

An estimated 240 million people suffer from chronic hepatitis B, while more than 780 000 people die each year from hepatitis B.