Aim: The aim of the study was to describe the frequency of viral pathogens and relative frequency of co-infections in nasal specimens obtained from young children with bronchiolitis receiving care at a children's hospital.
Methods: We conducted a study of nasal wash specimens using real-time PCR and fluorescent-antibody assay results from children less than two with an ICD-9-CM code for bronchiolitis. All specimens were collected for clinical care at Children's Hospital in Seattle, WA, USA, during the respiratory season from October 2003 to April 2004.
Results: Viruses were detected in 168 (93%) of the 180 children with bronchiolitis. A single virus was identified in 127 (71%) children and multiple viruses in 41 (23%). Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) was the most common virus detected (77%), followed by adenovirus (15%), human metapneumovirus (11%), coronavirus (8%), parainfluenza (6%) and influenza (1%). Of the 139 samples with RSV detected, 34 (24%) were co-infected with another viral pathogen.
Conclusion: Molecular diagnostic techniques identified a high frequency of viruses and viral co-infections among children evaluated for bronchiolitis. Further study of the role of viral pathogens other than RSV and co-infections with RSV in children with bronchiolitis appears warranted.