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J Med Virol. 2009 Apr;81(4):750-6. doi: 10.1002/jmv.21457.

Epidemiological and clinical study of viral respiratory tract infections in children from Italy.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Infectious Diseases Section, University of Siena, Policlinico "S. Maria delle Scotte", Siena, Italy.


Impact of recently discovered viruses on epidemiology of acute respiratory tract infections (ARTI) is still unclear. We studied the impact of recently discovered human metapneumovirus (hMPV), human bocavirus (HBoV), and new coronaviruses (HCoV-NL63 and HKU1) on the global epidemiology of ARTI. From October 2006 to April 2007, 237 pediatric patients affected by ARTI were enrolled in our study. Specimens were tested for respiratory viruses by polymerase chain reaction. One hundred twenty-four out of 237 samples (52.3%) were positive for one or more viruses. Picornaviruses were the most prevalent viruses (n = 61, 43.6%), followed by respiratory syncytial virus (n = 34, 24.3%) and Adenovirus (n = 25, 17.9%); hMPV (n = 9, 6.4%) was the fourth most common virus detected. HBoV and HCoV showed a low prevalence (respectively 2.9% and 2.1%). RSV was the prevalent agent of LRTI (38%). Viruses were identified in more than 50% of the studied ARTI, providing useful information on clinical features and epidemiology of specific agents affecting children in cold months. Although routine surveillance of respiratory viruses does not seem cost-effective, continuous monitoring of ARTI etiology could be a useful tool for planning resources for the development of new vaccines and antiviral agents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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