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Keywords:

  • human metapneumovirus;
  • respiratory infection;
  • immunocompromised patients;
  • hematopoietic stem cell transplant

M.C. Debur, L.R. Vidal, E. Stroparo, M.B. Nogueira, S.M. Almeida, G.A. Takahashi, I. Rotta, L.A. Pereira, C.S. Silveira, C.M. Bonfim, S.M. Raboni. Human metapneumovirus infection in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients. Transpl Infect Dis 2010: 12: 173–179. All rights reserved

Abstract: Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) was described in 2001 and has been associated with both upper and lower respiratory tract infection (URTI and LRTI, respectively), especially in children, the elderly, and in immunocompromised patients. The objective of this study was to identify hMPV as the etiological agent of acute respiratory infection in hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) patients and to determine the clinical features of hMPV infection in these patients.

Methods. The study was performed retrospectively in 769 respiratory samples obtained from immunocompromised patients submitted to HSCT over a period of 6 years. RNA was extracted by the guanidinium thiocyanate method, and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assay was performed to amplify a 928pb fragment of the hMPV N gene.

Results. hMPV was present in 19 (2.5%) samples. The mean age of infected patients was 18.3±10.8 (range, 3–41). Sixty-six percent of hMPV infections occurred during autumn, winter, and spring months. Three episodes showed co-infection with more than 1 virus. Two patients (11.1%) were infected a few days into the conditioning period and 9 (50%) in the first 3 months after the transplant. The majority of patients (72.2%) presented URTI alone with flu-like symptoms (cough, fever, headache, wheezing), while 5 patients (27.8%) had LRTI (pneumonia). No patient died from complications associated with the hMPV infection.

Conclusions. hMPV has been reported as a respiratory pathogen in HSCT patients. We suggest that hMPV infection should be routinely investigated in this population, mainly in children, to prevent nosocomial transmission during transplant proceedings and to avoid the risk of progressing to complications due to LRTI.