JOURNAL ARTICLE

A six-year descriptive epidemiological study of human coronavirus infections in hospitalized patients in Hong Kong

Cyril C Y Yip, Carol S F Lam, Hayes K H Luk, Emily Y M Wong, Rodney A Lee, Lok-Yee So, Kwok-Hung Chan, Vincent C C Cheng, Kwok-Yung Yuen, Patrick C Y Woo, Susanna K P Lau
Virologica Sinica 2016, 31 (1): 41-8
26920709
We conducted a six-year epidemiological study on human coronaviruses (HCoVs) circulating in Hong Kong, using 8275 nasopharyngeal samples from patients with acute respiratory tract infections. HCoVs were detected in 77 (0.93%) of the samples by a pan-HCoV RT-PCR assay. The most frequently detected HCoV species was HCoV-OC43 (0.58%), followed by HCoV-229E (0.15%), HCoV-HKU1 (0.13%) and HCoV-NL63 (0.07%). HCoVs were detected throughout the study period (September 2008-August 2014), with the highest detection rate from September 2010 to August 2011 (22/1500, 1.47%). Different seasonal patterns of each HCoV species in Hong Kong were noted. HCoV-OC43 was predominant in the fall and winter, whereas HCoV-HKU1 showed peak activity in winter, with a few cases occurred in spring and summer. HCoV-229E mainly occurred in winter and spring, while HCoV-NL63 was predominant in summer and autumn. HCoVs most commonly infect the elderly and young children, with median age of 79.5 years (range, 22 days to 95 years). Intriguingly, the detection rate of HCoV-OC43 in the age group of > 80 years (26/2380, 1.09%) was significantly higher than that in the age group of 0-10 years (12/2529, 0.47%) (P < 0.05). These data provides new insight into the epidemiology of coronaviruses.

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