Send to

Choose Destination
J Med Virol. 2009 Sep;81(9):1597-604. doi: 10.1002/jmv.21541.

Detection of four human coronaviruses in respiratory infections in children: a one-year study in Colorado.

Author information

Department of Pediatrics, The Children's Hospital, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.


Lower respiratory tract infections are the leading cause of death in children worldwide. Studies on the epidemiology and clinical associations of the four human non-SARS human coronaviruses (HCoVs) using sensitive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays are needed to evaluate the clinical significance of HCoV infections worldwide. Pediatric respiratory specimens (1,683) submitted to a diagnostic virology laboratory over a 1-year period (December 2004-November 2005) that were negative for seven respiratory viruses by conventional methods were tested for RNA of four HCoVs using sensitive RT-PCR assays. Coronavirus RNAs were detected in 84 (5.0%) specimens: HCoV-NL63 in 37 specimens, HCoV-OC43 in 34, HCoV-229E in 11, and HCoV-HKU1 in 2. The majority of HCoV infections occurred during winter months, and over 62% were in previously healthy children. Twenty-six (41%) coronavirus positive patients had evidence of a lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI), 17 (26%) presented with vomiting and/or diarrhea, and 5 (8%) presented with meningoencephalitis or seizures. Respiratory specimens from one immunocompromised patient were persistently positive for HCoV-229E RNA for 3 months. HCoV-NL63-positive patients were nearly twice as likely to be hospitalized (P = 0.02) and to have a LRTI (P = 0.04) than HCoV-OC43-positive patients. HCoVs are associated with a small, but significant number (at least 2.4% of total samples submitted), of both upper and lower respiratory tract illnesses in children in Colorado. Our data raise the possibility that HCoV may play a role in gastrointestinal and CNS disease. Additional studies are needed to investigate the potential roles of HCoVs in these diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center