Rhinovirus Infection in Hospitalized Children in Hong Kong: A Prospective Study


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Abstract

Objectives:To analyze the clinical features and estimate the hospitalization disease burden of rhinovirus infection in children in Hong Kong.Methods:In this prospective study, nasopharyngeal aspirates were taken from children aged <18 years with symptoms of acute respiratory infection admitted to Queen Mary Hospital on one fixed day of the week during August 2001–July 2002 for detection of common respiratory viruses by immunofluorescence, viral culture, and for rhinovirus, human metapneumovirus, and coronaviruses by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. The clinical features of rhinovirus infections were analyzed and hospitalization disease burden was estimated.Results:Altogether 239 of the 426 nasopharyngeal aspirates (56.1%) were positive for respiratory viruses, including 151 patients with rhinovirus (35.4%). The median age was 2.34 years. Upper respiratory infection, asthma exacerbation, pneumonia, and acute bronchiolitis were diagnosed in 44.4%, 19.9%, 11.3%, and 7.9%, respectively. The most common symptoms were cough (81.5%), runny nose (76.8%), and fever (68.9%). Shortness of breath, wheezes, and crepitation were present in 25.8%, 29.1%, and 18.5%, respectively. Fifty-five of 99 patients (55.6%) had chest radiographic abnormalities, most commonly perihilar streakiness. Children with chronic diseases were more likely to have lower respiratory tract infection and these children required longer hospitalization (mean 0.6 days longer). Coinfection with other respiratory pathogens was common (33.1%).Conclusion:Rhinovirus is frequently associated with asthmatic exacerbations and lower respiratory tract infection, especially in children with chronic diseases and is potentially an important contributor to hospitalization in children in Hong Kong.

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