Effect of human rhinovirus infection in pediatric patients with influenza-like illness on the 2009 pandemic influenza A(H1N1) virus

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Some research groups have hypothesized that human rhinoviruses (HRVs) delayed the circulation of the 2009 pandemic influenza A(H1N1) virus (A(H1N1)pdm09) at the beginning of Autumn 2009 in France. This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between HRV and A(H1N1)pdm09 in pediatric patients with influenza-like illness in Beijing, China.


A systematic analysis to detect A(H1N1)pdm09 and seasonal influenza A virus (FLU A) was performed on 4 349 clinical samples from pediatric patients with influenza-like illness during the period June 1, 2009 to February 28, 2010, while a one-step real-time RT-PCR (rRT-PCR) assay was used to detect HRV in 1 146 clinical specimens selected from those 4 349 specimens.


During the survey period, only one wave of A(H1N1)pdm09 was observed. The percentage of positive cases for A(H1N1)pdm09 increased sharply in September with a peak in November 2009 and then declined in February 2010. Data on the monthly distribution of HRVs indicated that more HRV-positive samples were detected in September (2.2%) and October (3.3%), revealing that the peak of HRV infection in 2009 was similar to that of other years. Among the 1 146 specimens examined for HRVs, 21 (1.8%) were HRV-positive, which was significantly lower than that reported previously in Beijing (15.4% to 19.2%) (P <0.01). Overall, 6 samples were positive for both A(H1N1)pdm09 and HRV, which represented a positive relative frequency of 1.60% and 2.08% HRV, considering the A(H1N1)pdm09-positive and -negative specimens, respectively. The odds ratio was 0.87 (95% CI 0.32; 2.44, P=0.80).


HRVs and A (H1N1)pdm09 co-circulated in this Chinese population during September and October 2009, and the HRV epidemic in 2009 did not affect A(H1N1)pdm09 infection rates in Beijing, China as suggested by other studies. However, the presence of A(H1N1)pdm09 might explain the unexpected reduction in the percentage of HRV positive cases during the period studied.

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