Respiratory syncytial virus and human rhinoviruses are the major causes of severe lower respiratory tract infections in Kuwait

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Abstract

Respiratory infections are very common in Kuwait, yet little is known about the cause of severe lower respiratory tract infections. This study was designed to investigate the viral cause of lower respiratory tract infections using sensitive molecular methods. PCR was applied to investigate 10 respiratory viruses in respiratory samples from 1,014 patients aged between 3 days to 76 years with acute lower respiratory tract infections. Of the 1,014 patients with lower respiratory tract infections, 288 (28.4%) had a viral infection. One hundred fifty-five (53.8%) presented with bronchiolitis, 100 (43.7%) with pneumonia, and 33 (11.5%) with croup. One hundred six (36.8%) and 99 (34.4%) patients had evidence of respiratory syncytial virus and human rhinoviruses infections, respectively. Adenoviruses were detected in 44 (15.2%) patients, while influenza A virus in 21 (7.3%) patients. The majority of respiratory syncytial virus infections (84%) were among patients aged <1 year. Similarly, of the 99 patients infected by human rhinoviruses, 50 (50.5%) were also among this age group. In contrast, most of influenza A virus infections, 12 of 21 (57.1%), were among patients aged over 16 years. Parainfluenza virus-2 and human coronaviruses were not detected in any of the patients' samples. Over the 3-year period, most of the hospitalized patients were seen during the autumn and winter months from October through March. These data show that respiratory syncytial virus and human rhinoviruses may be the major causes of lower respiratory tract infections in children admitted to hospital in Kuwait. J. Med. Virol. 82:1462–1467, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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