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Emerg Infect Dis. 2004 Apr;10(4):700-5.

Human metapneumovirus infection among children hospitalized with acute respiratory illness.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


Recent studies have associated human metapneu-movirus (HMPV) infection in children with respiratory disease of similar severity as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection. We studied 668 banked swab specimens (one per admission) collected from a population-based, prospective study of acute respiratory illness among inpatient children from two U.S. cities. Specimens were tested for HMPV, RSV, influenza, and parainfluenza viruses by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assays. Twenty-six (3.9%) were positive for HMPV; 125 (18.7%) for RSV; 45 (6.7%) for parainfluenza 1, 2, or 3; and 23 (3.4%) for influenza. HMPV-positive children were significantly older than RSV-positive children. HMPV-positive children required medical intensive care and received supplemental oxygen in similar frequencies to RSV-positive children. Among children hospitalized with respiratory illness, the incidence of HMPV infection was less than RSV, but clinical disease severity mirrored that of RSV infection. Further investigations to better characterize HMPV infection and its clinical effect are needed.

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