Human bocavirus infection in Belgian children with respiratory tract disease
Human bocavirus (HBoV) has been detected primarily in children with acute lower respiratory tract disease (LRTD), but its occurrence, clinical profile, and role as a causative agent of RTD are not clear. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and the potential clinical relevance of HBoV. Using molecular tests, we tested 1352 nasopharyngeal samples obtained between October 1, 2017 and April 30, 2018 from children up to the age of 16 with RTD for the presence of HBoV DNA and 20 other respiratory pathogens at three different hospitals in Belgium. HBoV was detected in 77 children with a median age of 10.6 months. Consecutive samples were available for 15 HBoV-positive children and showed persistent HBoV positivity in four of them. Monoinfection was observed in six infants. Four of them were born prematurely and were infected during hospitalization at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Only one of these six monoinfected children was diagnosed with recurrent wheezing due to HBoV. This child was carried to term and had a high viral load. Coinfections, most frequently with rhinovirus (52.1%) and adenovirus (49.3%), were observed in 72 patients. In seventeen of them in which HBoV was present at high viral load or higher viral load than its copathogens, bronchi(oli)tis (n = 8), recurrent wheezing (n = 8) or episodic wheezing (n = 1) were diagnosed. Our results suggest that HBoV infection at high viral load in infants is associated with wheezing (P = 0.013, Cramer’s V = 0.613).
Chronic lung disease
Continuous positive airway pressure
Human coronavirus 229E
Human coronavirus HKU1
Human coronavirus NL63
Human coronavirus OC43
Human parainfluenza viruses
Human respiratory syncytial virus
Human influenza A virus
Human influenza B virus
Lower respiratory tract disease
Neonatal intensive care unit
Pediatric intensive care unit
Respiratory tract disease
Respiratory tract infections
Severe acute respiratory infection
Upper respiratory tract disease
White blood cell count
VV analyzed and interpreted the laboratory and clinical data for all patients of the three participating hospitals included in this study and wrote this manuscript. The microbiologists MR, KF and WV provided the laboratory data from AZ Sint-Jan and AZ Sint-Lucas Hospital of Bruges and helped with the interpretation of the data. The pediatricians SD, KS and FC provided the clinical data from the Ghent University Hospital, the AZ Sint-Jan and AZ Sint-Lucas Hospital of Bruges, respectively, and helped with the interpretation of the data. The study was supervised and coordinated by professor EP. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
No funding was received for this study.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Ethics approval and consent to participate
The study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki and was approved by the Medical Ethics Committee of the three participating hospitals under Belgian Registration number B670201836996.
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