Viral aetiology and clinical outcomes in hospitalised infants presenting with respiratory distress

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Abstract

Aim:

To determine the prevalence of various types of viruses in infants hospitalised due to respiratory distress, compare molecular diagnostic tests and evaluate symptom severity.

Methods:

All 136 nasopharyngeal aspirates from infants hospitalised for respiratory distress over a 9-month period were analysed for virus type by in-house respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) microarray-based and/or Luminex-based multiplex molecular tests. Medical records were reviewed retrospectively for clinical data.

Results:

Viral aetiology was confirmed in 126 subjects (92.6%) with 26 infected by more than one virus. RSVA/B was the most common (50.9%), followed by entero/rhinovirus (21.6%), human metapneumovirus (10.5%), parainfluenza virus (5.9%) and influenza (3.3%). RSV-infected infants had significantly lower saturation levels (89% versus 92%, p < 0.001), higher demand for oxygen (42.7% versus 21.6%, p = 0.021) and fluids (28% versus 9.8%; p = 0.014) and longer hospital stays (4 versus 3 days, <0.001) than other viruses. Luminex assays gave repeatable, slightly less sensitive results than in-house RSV PCR. Microarray-based assays were more sensitive, however, producing some unrepeatable results.

Conclusion:

Respiratory syncytial virus dominates as the viral cause in hospitalised infants with respiratory distress in Sweden during the winter season, resulting in a clinical course that is significantly more severe. The multiplex assays produced reasonably concordant results.

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