RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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[Role of rhinovirus in respiratory tract infections in hospitalized children].

BACKGROUND: Rhinovirus is a recognized cause of common cold and has been shown to cause asthma exacerbations in adults and children. The burden of rhinovirus infections in hospitalized children has not been described in Spain.

OBJECTIVE: To describe confirmed rhinovirus infections in children hospitalized for respiratory tract infection in a secondary public hospital.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: We performed a prospective descriptive study in children admitted to hospital with fever or respiratory tract infection and with a positive isolation of rhinovirus in nasopharyngeal washings between September 2004 and July 2005. Virological diagnosis was made with direct immunofluorescent assay and/or reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction in specimens obtained from nasopharyngeal washings. The clinical characteristics of the patients were analyzed.

RESULTS: There were 76 children with rhinovirus infection, representing 25 % of admissions in 304 children with fever or respiratory tract infection. Rhinovirus was the second most frequent viral agent identified after respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) (29.9 % of admissions). Fifty-four children (71.1 %) were under 2 years of age. The most frequent clinical diagnoses were recurrent wheezing in 60.5 %, bronchiolitis in 23.7 %, pneumonia in 7.9 %, and upper respiratory tract infection in 5.3 %. Fever > 38 degrees C was present in 57.9 % of the patients and radiologic infiltrate was found in 23.7 %. Oxygen saturation less than 95 % was found in 43.4 % of the patients. Of 22 children aged more than 2 years, a diagnosis of asthmatic crisis was made in 21.

CONCLUSIONS: Rhinoviruses were frequently identified in hospitalized children with respiratory tract disease and were the second most common viruses after RSV. In our series, it was the most frequent cause of recurrent wheezing in hospitalized children and the second most common cause in infants.

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