• Open Access

Community-acquired respiratory viruses and co-infection among patients of Ontario sentinel practices, April 2009 to February 2010


Mrs. Adriana Peci, Public Health Ontario, Toronto, ON, Canada. E-mails: adriana.peci@oahpp.ca; adriana.peci@utoronto.ca


Please cite this paper as: Peci et al. (2012) Community-acquired respiratory viruses and co-infection among patients of Ontario Sentinel practices, April 2009 to February 2010. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 7(4), 559–566.

Background  Respiratory viruses are known to cocirculate but this has not been described in detail during an influenza pandemic.

Objectives  To describe respiratory viruses, including co-infection and associated attributes such as age, sex or comorbidity, in patients presenting with influenza-like illness to a community sentinel network, during the pandemic A(H1N1)pdm09 in Ontario, Canada.

Methods  Respiratory samples and epidemiologic details were collected from 1018 patients with influenza-like illness as part of respiratory virus surveillance and a multiprovincial case–control study of influenza vaccine effectiveness.

Results  At least one virus was detected in 668 (65·6%) of 1018 samples; 512 (50·3%) had single infections and 156 (15·3%) co-infections. Of single infections, the most common viruses were influenza A in 304 (59·4%) samples of which 275 (90·5%) were influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, and enterovirus/rhinovirus in 149 (29·1%) samples. The most common co-infections were influenza A and respiratory syncytial virus B, and influenza A and enterovirus/rhinovirus. In multinomial logistic regression analyses adjusted for age, sex, comorbidity, and timeliness of sample collection, single infection was less often detected in the elderly and co-infection more often in patients <30 years of age. Co-infection, but not single infection, was more likely detected in patients who had a sample collected within 2 days of symptom onset as compared to 3–7 days.

Conclusions  Respiratory viral co-infections are commonly detected when using molecular techniques. Early sample collection increases likelihood of detection of co-infection. Further studies are needed to better understand the clinical significance of viral co-infection.