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J Clin Microbiol. 2000 Mar;38(3):1191-5.

Detection and identification of human parainfluenza viruses 1, 2, 3, and 4 in clinical samples of pediatric patients by multiplex reverse transcription-PCR.

Author information

  • 1Servicio de Virología, Centro Nacional de Microbiología, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Carretera de Majadahonda Pozuelo s/n, 28220 Majadahonda, Madrid, Spain.

Erratum in

  • J Clin Microbiol 2000 Jul;38(7):2805.


We describe a multiplex reverse transcription-PCR (m-RT-PCR) assay that is able to detect and differentiate all known human parainfluenza viruses (HPIVs). Serial dilution experiments with reference strains that compared cell culture isolation and m-RT-PCR showed sensitivities ranging from 0.0004 50% tissue culture infective dose (TCID(50)) for HPIV type 4B (HPIV-4B) to 32 TCID(50)s for HPIV-3. As few as 10 plasmids containing HPIV PCR products could be detected in all cases. When 201 nasopharyngeal aspirate specimens from pediatric patients hospitalized for lower respiratory illness were tested, m-RT-PCR assay detected 64 HPIVs (24 HPIV-3, 23 HPIV-1, 10 HPIV-4, and 7 HPIV-2), while only 42 of them (21 HPIV-1, 14 HPIV-3, 6 HPIV-2, and 1 HPIV-4 isolates) grew in cell culture. Our m-RT-PCR assay was more sensitive than either cell culture isolation or indirect immunofluorescence with monoclonal antibodies for the detection of HPIV infections. Also, HPIV-4 was more frequently detected than HPIV-2 in this study, suggesting that it may have been underestimated as a lower respiratory tract pathogen because of the insensitivity of cell culture.

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