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Emerg Infect Dis. 2004 Jun;10(6):1095-101.

Respiratory picornaviruses and respiratory syncytial virus as causative agents of acute expiratory wheezing in children.

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  • 1Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland.


We studied the viral etiology of acute expiratory wheezing (bronchiolitis, acute asthma) in 293 hospitalized children in a 2-year prospective study in Finland. A potential causative viral agent was detected in 88% of the cases. Eleven different viruses were represented. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) (27%), enteroviruses (25%), rhinovirus (24%), and nontypable rhino/enterovirus (16%) were found most frequently. In infants, RSV was found in 54% and respiratory picornaviruses (rhinovirus and enteroviruses) in 42% of the cases. In older children, respiratory picornaviruses dominated (65% of children ages 1-2 years and 82% of children ages > or =3 years). Human metapneumovirus was detected in 4% of all children and in 11% of infants. To prevent and treat acute expiratory wheezing illnesses in children, efforts should be focused on RSV, enterovirus, and rhinovirus infections.

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