1210. Severity and Risk Factors Associated With Coronavirus OC43 Infections in Childhood
Session: Poster Abstract Session: Other Viral Infections in Children
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Room: Poster Hall B1
Background: Coronaviruses (CoV) are a diverse group of viruses. Until the advent of SARS, they were thought to primarily cause mild upper respiratory tract infections in humans. Subtypes 229E and OC43 have been associated with outbreaks of severe respiratory diseases in children and the elderly, but infections appeared to be more severe in patients co-infected with other respiratory viruses. The objective of this study is to review clinical characteristics of OC43 infections, including severity of illness in a pediatric population.

Methods: We retrospectively identified cases positive by RT-PCR for OC43, from respiratory specimens procured at the Montreal Children Hospital between December 2009 and 2010.  During this period, all respiratory specimens were tested by an RT-PCR assay targeting 12 different respiratory viruses, including OC43. The clinical characteristics, presence of underlying chronic illnesses, and outcomes for these infections were investigated by review of medical charts. Descriptive statistics were used.

Results: During this period, 3487 specimens were tested by RT-PCR. Of these, 69 (1.98%) were positive for OC43; most of these (73.5%) were detected during the month of November 2010. Co-infection was identified in 18 of the positives (26.5%): adenovirus was detected in 11, parainfluenza in 2, and RSV in 2. Simple symptoms of upper respiratory infection were present in 12 cases (17.7%), while 16 cases (23.5%) of the cases presented with lower respiratory tract infections: bronchiolitis in 12 and pneumonia in 4. Based on severity of symptoms or need for admission, 14 (20.6%) were considered to have a severe infection with pneumonia (4), respiratory distress syndromes (3), sepsis (3), or bronchospasms (2). Of those with severe disease, OC43 was the only pathogen detected from clinical specimens in 86%. 

Conclusion: Our study suggests that OC43 is frequently involved in respiratory tract infections in children in Montreal, particularly during late fall-early winter. Furthermore, this virus can cause serious respiratory disease in children. Contrary to previous observations, severe disease seems to be associated with OC43 in the absence of concomitant infections with other respiratory viruses. 

Subject Category: P. Pediatric and perinatal infections

Andreanne Jean, MD, Infectious Disease and Medical Microbiology, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, QC, Canada, Caroline Quach, MD MSc FRCPC, Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology, The Montreal Children's Hospital, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada, Allison Yung, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, QC, Canada, Mila Gonzales, Infectious Disease, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, QC, Canada and Makeda Semret, MD, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada


A. Jean, None

C. Quach, None

A. Yung, None

M. Gonzales, None

M. Semret, None

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