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Pediatr Res. 2013 Mar;73(3):355-61. doi: 10.1038/pr.2012.176. Epub 2012 Nov 30.

RT-PCR detection of respiratory pathogens in newborn children admitted to a neonatal medium care unit.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Slotervaart Hospital, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



This study aimed to determine the prevalence of respiratory pathogens among newborns admitted to a neonatal medium care unit (NMCU) and to identify clinical predictors.


A 1-y observational study was performed of neonates admitted to an NMCU in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Nasopharyngeal samples were collected for the detection of respiratory viruses and bacteria by real-time PCR (RT-PCR). Cycle threshold (Ct) values were provided to estimate viral load. Predictors for the presence of study pathogens were identified.


From October 2010 through September 2011, 334 neonates (median age 1.3 d, 53.6% male) were included. Overall, 37 respiratory pathogens were detected in 34 children (10.2%): parainfluenza-1 (n = 9), human rhinovirus (n = 7), parainfluenza-3 (n = 6), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV, n = 6), Streptococcus pneumoniae (n = 3), adenovirus (n = 2), human coronavirus (n = 2), influenza A (n = 1), and bocavirus (n = 1). Neonates with higher viral loads (Ct <35; n = 11) were more often clinically ill than those with lower viral loads (Ct ≥35; n = 23). Two variables significantly contributed to the detection of study pathogens: age (odds ratio (OR) 1.21 for each day older; 95% confidence interval 1.12-1.30) and rhinorrhea (OR 6.71; 95% confidence interval 1.54-29.21).


Respiratory pathogens seem to play a role in neonates admitted to an NMCU. The influence of respiratory pathogen detection on clinical management remains to be determined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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