Human Bocavirus: Prevalence and Clinical Spectrum at a Children's Hospital

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Molecular methods of pathogen discovery have recently led to the description of several new respiratory viruses. Human bocavirus (HBoV), a proposed member of the family Parvoviridae, is one of the most recently described respiratory viruses. Initial reports indicate that HBoV is a common cause of respiratory tract infection in children.


A total of 1474 nasal scraping specimens collected over a 20-month period were screened by polymerase chain reaction for the presence of HBoV nucleic acid. Positive results were confirmed with a second polymerase chain reaction assay from a different genomic region. The medical records of patients with positive results were reviewed for demographic and clinical data.


HBoV DNA was identified in 82 samples (5.6%). The peak rate of HBoV infection occurred during the period of March through May in both 2004 and 2005. Sixty-three percent of infected patients were <12 months of age. The most common symptoms were cough, rhinorrhea, and fever. Other symptoms of interest included diarrhea and a “paroxysmal” cough that was clinically suspected to be caused by Bordetella pertussis.


HBoV DNA is commonly present in children with upper and lower respiratory tract infections. The presence of a pertussis-like cough and diarrhea in association with HBoV infection merits further investigation.

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