Role of respiratory viruses in infants less than six months of age with upper respiratory tract infections

Eda Karadağ Öncel, Demet Başer, Ayça Kömürlüoğlu, Meral Ciblak, Yasemin Özsürekçi, Cihangül Bayhan, Selim Badur, Mehmet Ceyhan
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Background: With a wide range of clinical presentations, respiratory tract infections remain a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, particularly in infants. The aim of this cross-sectional descriptive study was to determine the frequency of respiratory viruses responsible for upper respiratory tract infections during the 2013-2014 influenza season in infants less than 6 months of age.

Methods: Nasal swabs were obtained from patients with symptoms suggestive of an influenza-like illness (ILI) between January and April 2014. Specimens were evaluated by RT-PCR to help identify the causative viral pathogens.

Results: A total of 150 patients with ILI were enrolled in the study. A respiratory virus was successfully detected in 126 (84%) infants; RSV in 41 (32.5%), rhinovirus in 17 (13.4%), metapneumovirus in 15 (11.9%), coronavirus in 11 (8.7%), adenovirus in 5 (3.9%), parainfluenza virus in 2 (1.5%) and bocavirus in 2 (1.5%) infants. Thirty-three (26.1%) patients were found to be co-infected with both two viruses. Rhinorrhea and developing complications were significantly more frequently seen in RT-PCR positive patients (p=0.023 and p=0.019, respectively). All complications were seen in RT-PCR positive group, especially in metapneumovirus, RSV and multiple viruses positive patients.

Conclusions: With an overall viral pathogen detection rate of 84%, findings of our study present that influenza viruses were not seen in infants less than 6 months of age in our study population, whether RSV and multiple viral infections were the most common causes in this age group.

Keywords: infants, influenza-like illness, real-time PCR, respiratory viruses

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