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Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2012 Jun;33(6):545-50. doi: 10.1086/665727. Epub 2012 Apr 16.

Epidemiology of human metapneumovirus in a pediatric long-term care facility.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.



Viral respiratory pathogens cause outbreaks in pediatric long-term care facilities (LTCFs), but few studies have used viral diagnostic testing to identify the causative pathogens. We describe the use of such testing during a prolonged period of respiratory illness and elucidate the epidemiology of human metapneumovirus (hMPV) at our LTCF.


Retrospective study of influenza-like illness (ILI).


A 136-bed pediatric LTCF from January 1 through April 30, 2010.


The ILI case definition included fever, cough, change in oropharyngeal secretions, increase in oxygen requirement, and/or wheezing.


During the study period, 69 episodes of ILI occurred in 61 (41%) of 150 residents. A viral pathogen was detected in 27 (39%) of the episodes, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) (n = 3), influenza A virus (not typed; n = 2), parainfluenza virus (n =2), adenovirus (n = 1), and hMPV (n = 19). Twenty-seven of the residents with ILI (44%) required transfer to acute care hospitals (mean length of hospitalization, 12 days; range, 3-47 days). Residents with tracheostomies were more likely to have ILI (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 3.99 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.87-8.53]; P = .0004). The mortality rate for residents with ILI was 1.6%. Residents with hMPV were younger (P = .03), more likely to be transferred to an acute care facility (OR, 3.73 [95% CI, 1.17-11.95]; P = .02), and less likely to have a tracheostomy (adjusted OR, 0.19 [95% CI, 0.047-0.757]; P = .02 ).


Diverse pathogens, most notably hMPV, caused ILI in our pediatric LTCF during a prolonged period of time. Viral testing was helpful in characterizing the epidemiology of ILI in this population.

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