Human Metapneumovirus: An Important Cause of Acute Respiratory Illness
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The epidemiology and clinical manifestations associated with hMPV have been found to be reminiscent of those of the hRSV, with most severe RTI occuring in young infants, elderly subjects, and immunocompromised hosts. The seasonal distribution resembles that of hRSV and influenza virus infections, with recurrent epidemics during the winter months. hMPV is the second most important cause, after hRSV, of viral lower RTI in children. hMPV infections account for at least 4 to 8% of the RTI in hospitalized children. In the general community hMPV infections account for at least 3% of patients who visit a general practitioner for RTI. Interestingly, the rates of detection of hMPV have been generally higher in retrospective than prospective studies, an observation consistent with some selection bias. Larger prospective studies, not limited to the typical respiratory virus season, not limited to testing respiratory samples negative for the other respiratory viruses, and using appropriate controls need to be conducted. Diagnosis is made by RT-PCR assays aimed at amplifying the N, L, or P genes. Additional research to define the pathogenesis of this viral infection and the host’ specific immune response will enhance our knowledge and guide the search for preventive and therapeutic strategies.
KeywordsRespiratory Syncytial Virus Respiratory Virus Acute Respiratory Illness Cynomolgus Macaque Emerg Infect
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