RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Comparison of virological profiles of respiratory syncytial virus and rhinovirus in acute lower tract respiratory infections in very young Chilean infants, according to their clinical outcome.

BACKGROUND: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and rhinovirus (HRV) are the main cause of acute lower respiratory tract infections (ALRTIs) in infants. Viral and host-related risk factors for severe disease have also not been clearly established.

OBJECTIVE: To assess whether certain viral features of RSV and, or HRV are associated with severe ALRTI.

STUDY DESIGN: RSV and HRV were studied in nasopharyngeal samples of infants by immunofluorescence, Luminex(®) and/or real-time RT-PCR assays. Quantitation and genotyping of RSV and HRV by PCR were done.

RESULTS: Of 124 virus positive specimens, 74 (59.7%) had RSV; 22 (17.7%) HRV and 28 (22.6%) RSV-HRV co-infection. Hospitalization was required in 57/74 RSV infants (77.0%); in 10/22 HRV cases (45.5%) (p=0.006) and in 15/28 co-infected by both viruses (53.6%) (p=0.003). Severe cases were 33/74 (44.6%) RSV infections, 2/22 HRV cases (9.1%), (p<0.002) and 6/28 (21.4%) patients co-infected by RSV-HRV (p<0.026). Three genotypes (NA1, B7, B9) of RSV circulated during the study. In 33 severe infants, NA1 was detected in 19 cases (57.6%); B7 in 13 (39.4%) and B9 in 1 (3.0%) (p<0.01; OR=10.0). RSV loads were similar between outpatients and hospitalized infants (p=0.7) and among different severities (p=0.7). NA1 loads were higher than other strains (p=0.049). Three geno-groups of HRV circulated homogeneously.

CONCLUSION: In very young infants, RSV cause more severe disease than HRV. Co-infection does not increase the severity of illness. NA1 RSV genotype was associated with major frequency of hospitalization, severe respiratory disease and higher viral load.

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