Rhinoviruses (RV) and Streptococcus pneumoniae are often detected concurrently during respiratory tract infections. Co-infections by RV and S. pneumoniae are common in acute otitis media and in community acquired pneumonia. In this study we investigated the co-transmission of rhinovirus and pneumococcus between family members.
The study population consisted of 29 Finnish families, with at least two children, participating in the birth cohort study Steps to the Healthy Development and Wellbeing of Children (STEPS) during the years 2008-2011. A total of 128 subjects were included in our study. From the onset of symptoms of respiratory tract infection in any family member, parents took nasal swab samples from each participant for three weeks, twice in a week, and sent them by mail to our study clinic. All symptoms of respiratory tract infection were documented in a diary on a daily basis. RVs were detected by RT-PCR and typed by sequencing. S. pneumoniae was detected from nasal swabs by an antigen test and by standard culture methods and typing.
A total of 745 nasal swab samples were obtained from 128 family members. RV was detected in 206 samples (28%) by PCR and S. pneumoniae was detected in 78 (10%) samples by antigen test or by culture methods. S. pneumoniae was detected more often in children than in adults (17% vs. 2 %). On the first day of sampling RV was detected in 38 persons (30%). During the three weeks period 67% (86/128) of subjects were infected with rhinovirus. S. pneumoniae was detected on the first day of sampling in 9 (7%) persons, and during the three weeks follow-up 35 (27%) family members were colonized with pneumococcus at least once. In 20 persons RV was detected before pneumococcal colonization and in 6 persons pneumococcal colonization was detected before RV infection. In 9 persons S. pneumoniae was detected concurrently with RV.
Rhinoviruses are frequently transmitted between family members and may facilitate the transmission of S. pneumoniae.
J. Teräsjärvi, None
H. Qiushui, None
M. Waris, None
V. Peltola, None