1256. Frequent Detection of Respiratory Viruses in Asymptomatic Children
Session: Oral Abstract Session: Respiratory Viral Infections in Children
Saturday, October 5, 2013: 10:30 AM
Room: The Moscone Center: 200-212

Viral upper respiratory infections (URIs) are the most common infectious diseases in children. The viruses that cause URI are well-known and may be detected in the nasopharynx of ill children.  There are a paucity of data in the literature reporting the rate of detection of respiratory viruses in healthy children.  The objective of this study is to determine the rate of detection of respiratory viruses in healthy (asymptomatic) children compared to children who have symptoms of URI.


Children ages 4-7 years were enrolled as a part of a study to determine the relationship between bacterial colonization of the nasopharynx, acute viral URIs, and sinusitis. Nasal washes were performed at enrollment, during asymptomatic surveillance visits (every 3 months), at the onset of a URI and during recovery.  Parents filled out a symptom survey during all visits.  PCR-based techniques were used to detect common respiratory viruses in nasal washes. 


Seventy three children were enrolled between February 2012 and January 2013; 353 nasal wash samples were obtained, 163 during surveillance (well) visits, 109 during acute URI and 81 during recovery.  A respiratory virus was detected in 49% of well children.  The most commonly detected virus was rhinovirus (HRV) in 31%, coronavirus (CoV) in 6%, bocavirus (BoV) in 2%,  influenza virus (FLU) in  2%,  adenovirus (ADV) in 2%, enterovirus (EV) in 2% , parainfluenza (PIV) in 1% and metapneumovirus (MPV) in 1%.  More than one virus was detected in 6% of samples.  In contrast, at visits for acute URIs virus was detected in 86%. HRV was positive in 43%,  CoV in 17%, BoV in 3%, FLU in 7%, ADV in 3%,  EV in 3%, PIV in 7%,  MPV in 2% and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in  1%. Multiple viruses were detected in 12% of URI episodes.


Detection of respiratory viruses in asymptomatic children is common; a virus was detected in 49%.   HRV was the most frequently detected virus, found in 30% of well children, followed by coronavirus and bocavirus. These data suggest that children are frequently infected with respiratory viruses asymptomatically. Accordingly, the detection of a respiratory virus in a symptomatic child does not necessarily establish causality. 

Gregory Demuri, MD, Dept. of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, James Gern, M.D., Pediatrics, University Of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI, Stacey Moyer, University Of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI and Ellen Wald, MD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI


G. Demuri, None

J. Gern, None

S. Moyer, None

E. Wald, None

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