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J Infect Dis. 2009 Oct 1;200(7):1096-103. doi: 10.1086/605697.

Clinical and molecular epidemiology of human rhinovirus C in children and adults in Hong Kong reveals a possible distinct human rhinovirus C subgroup.

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State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.



A novel human rhinovirus (HRV) species, HRV-C, was recently discovered, but its clinical features and epidemiology, compared with HRV-A and HRV-B, remains poorly understood, especially in adults.


One thousand two hundred nasopharyngeal aspirate samples obtained from hospitalized children and adults during a 1-year period were subject to reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction to detect HRV. The clinical and molecular epidemiology of the 3 HRV species was analyzed.


HRVs were detected in 178 (29.7%) of 600 nasopharyngeal aspirate samples from children and 42 (7%) of 600 nasopharyngeal aspirate samples from adults. HRV-A was most prevalent (n=11), followed by HRV-C (n=91) and HRV-B (n=18). Although upper respiratory tract infection was the most common presentation in children, 8 (62%) of the 13 adults with HRV-C infection had pneumonia, compared with 6 (27%) of the 22 adults with HRV-A infection (P<.05). Wheezing episodes were also more common among individuals with HRV-C (37%) and HRV-A (20%) infection than among those with HRV-B (0%) infection (P<.05). Clinical and molecular data analysis revealed HRV-C as a frequent cause of community and institutionalized outbreaks. A diverse set of HRV-C genotypes was circulating throughout the year, among which a potential distinct subgroup of strains was observed.


HRV-C is associated with pneumonia in adults and outbreaks of respiratory infections requiring hospitalization. A potential novel HRV-C subgroup was identified.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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