What is the epidemiology of croup?

Updated: Oct 09, 2019
  • Author: Germaine L Defendi, MD, MS, FAAP; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

Croup is the most common pediatric illness that causes acute stridor, accounting for approximately 15% of annual clinic and emergency department visits for pediatric respiratory tract infections. Croup is primarily a disease of infants and toddlers, with an age peak incidence of age 6 months to 36 months (3 years). In North America, incidence peaks in the second year of life, with an incidence of about 5-6 cases per 100 toddlers. Although uncommon after age 6 years, croup may be diagnosed in the preteen and adolescent years, and rarely in adults.

The male-to-female ratio for croup is approximately 1.4:1. The disease occurs most often in late fall and early winter, but may present at any time of the year. Approximately 5% of children will experience more than 1 episode.


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