Viruses in community-acquired pneumonia in children aged less than 3 years old: High rate of viral coinfection



The occurrence of viral coinfections in childhood pneumonia has received little attention, probably because suitable detection methods have been lacking. Between November 2004 and October 2006, the presence of 14 respiratory viruses in children aged less than 3 years old with community-acquired pneumonia were investigated using molecular or immunochromatographic techniques and/or viral culture. A total of 315 children (338 episodes) were included, and hospitalization was required in 178 episodes. At least one virus was detected in 66.9% of the episodes and simultaneous detection of two or more viruses was frequent (27% of the episodes with viral detection). The most frequently detected virus was respiratory syncytial virus (n = 67: 33 subgroup A, 33 subgroup B, 1 not typed), followed by human bocavirus (n = 48), rhinovirus (n = 46), human metapneumovirus (n = 39: 13 genotype A2, 8 B1, 5 B2, 1 A1, 12 not genotyped) and parainfluenza viruses (n = 38: 1 type 1, 3 type 2, 22 type 3, 11 type 4 and 1 not typed). The 14 viruses investigated were found in viral coinfections, which were more frequent in children aged less than 12 months. Except for adenovirus, the incidence of which was low, the percentage of viral coinfection ranged between 28.2% and 68.8%. Children with viral coinfection more frequently required hospital admission than those with single viral infection. It is concluded that viral coinfections are frequent in children aged less than 3 years old with community-acquired pneumonia and can be a poor prognostic factor. J. Med. Virol. 80:1843–1849, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.