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Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2008 Aug;103(5):417-22.

Prevalence and clinical aspects of respiratory syncytial virus A and B groups in children seen at Hospital de Clínicas of Uberlândia, MG, Brazil.

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  • 1Laboratório de Virologia, Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, Uberlândia, MG, Brasil.


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is well recognized as the most important pathogen causing acute respiratory disease in infants and young children, mainly in the form of bronchiolitis and pneumonia. Two major antigenic groups, A and B, have been identified; however, there is disagreement about the severity of the diseases caused by these two types. This study investigated a possible association between RSV groups and severity of disease. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction was used to characterize 128 RSV nasopharyngeal specimens from children less than five years old experiencing acute respiratory disease. A total of 82 of 128 samples (64.1%) could be typed, and, of these, 78% were group A, and 22% were group B. Severity was measured by clinical evaluation associated with demographic factors: for RSV A-infected patients, 53.1% were hospitalized, whereas for RSV B patients, 27.8% were hospitalized (p = 0.07). Around 35.0% of the patients presented risk factors for severity (e.g., prematurity). For those without risk factors, the hospitalization occurred in 47.6% of patients infected with RSV A and in 18.2% infected with RSV B. There was a trend for RSV B infections to be milder than those of RSV A. Even though RSV A-infected patients, including cases without underlying condition and prematurity, were more likely to require hospitalization than those infected by RSV B, the disease severity could not to be attributed to the RSV groups.

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