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J Infect Dis. 2010 Jun 15;201(12):1890-8. doi: 10.1086/652782.

Population-based incidence of human metapneumovirus infection among hospitalized children.

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Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University Schoolof Medicine, and Monroe Carell Jr Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tennessee 37232-2581, USA.



Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) is a leading cause of acute respiratory illness (ARI) in children. Population-based incidence rates and comprehensive clinical characterizations of disease have not been established.


We conducted population-based prospective surveillance for 2 years in 2 US counties of HMPV infection among children <5 years old who were hospitalized with ARI or fever. Nasal and throat specimens obtained with swabs were tested for HMPV by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction and genotyped.


Forty-two (3.8%) of 1104 children tested positive for HMPV. The overall annual rate of HMPV-associated hospitalizations per 1000 children <5 years old was 1.2 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.9-1.6). This rate was highest among infants 0-5 months old (4.9 per 1000 [95% CI, 2.9-7.2]), followed by children 6-11 months old (2.9 per 1000 [95% CI, 1.4-4.7]). The annual rate of hospitalization for HMPV infection was less than that for respiratory syncytial virus infection but similar to that for influenza and parainfluenza virus 3 infection in all age groups. The mean age of children hospitalized with HMPV infection was 6 months. Bronchiolitis, pneumonia, and asthma were the most common diagnoses among children with HMPV infection. All 4 HMPV subgroups were detected during both years at both sites. HPMV infection was most prominent from March through May.


HMPV was detected in 3.8% of children hospitalized with ARI or fever, with a population incidence similar to that of influenza virus and parainfluenza virus 3.

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