Merck Manual

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Viral Pleuritis


Richard W. Light

, MD, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Last full review/revision Jan 2021| Content last modified Sep 2022
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Viral pleuritis is a viral infection of the pleurae.

Viral pleuritis is most commonly caused by infection with coxsackie B virus. Occasionally, echovirus causes a rare condition known as epidemic pleurodynia Epidemic Pleurodynia Epidemic pleurodynia is a febrile disorder caused most commonly by a group B coxsackievirus, an enterovirus. Infection causes severe pleuritic chest or abdominal pain. Epidemic pleurodynia may... read more (Bornholm pleurodynia), manifesting as pleuritis, fever, and chest muscle spasms. The condition occurs in the late summer and affects adolescents and young adults.

The primary symptom of viral pleuritis is pleuritic pain; pleural friction rub may be a sign.

Treatment is symptomatic with oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or a short course of oral opioids if needed.

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