(See also Overview of Pleural and Mediastinal Disorders Overview of Pleural and Mediastinal Disorders The pleura is a thin, transparent, two-layered membrane that covers the lungs and also lines the inside of the chest wall. The layer that covers the lungs lies in close contact with the layer... read more .)
Viral pleuritis is most commonly caused by infection with coxsackie B virus. Occasionally, an echovirus causes a rare condition known as epidemic pleurodynia (Bornholm disease). It occurs in the late summer and affects adolescents and young adults.
Chest pain is the primary symptom of viral pleuritis. The pain is usually worse when breathing in or coughing and is often sharp. Epidemic pleurodynia also causes fever and chest muscle spasms.
Chest x-ray is usually done.
Viral pleuritis resolves on its own after a few days or more. Analgesics can help relieve the pain.