Human metapneumovirus infection

  • Adilia Warris
  • Ronald de Groot
Part of the Birkhäuser Advances in Infectious Diseases book series (BAID)


Initially, human metapneumovirus (hMPV) was isolated from children with clinical symptoms of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection in whom RSV could not be detected. Since then, numerous reports have described the detection of hMPV in clinical specimens from children, adults and the elderly (both immunocompetent and immunocompromised patients), diagnosed with an acute respiratory illness all over the world. hMPV is associated with a substantial number of respiratory tract infections in otherwise healthy children, with clinical illnesses similar to those associated with other common respiratory viruses. Serological surveys have shown that hMPV is a ubiquitous virus that infects all children by the age of 5–10 years and has been circulating in humans for at least 50 years. hMPV is a member of the Metapneumovirus genus of the Paramyxoviridae family, a group of negative-stranded RNA viruses. Genetic studies on hMPV have demonstrated the presence of two distinct hMPV serotypes each divided in two subgroups. Diagnosis is made by RT-PCR assays on respiratory secretions. Rapid antigen detection tests are not yet available and its growth in cell cultures is fastidious. No vaccines, antibodies (monoclonal or polyclonal), or chemotherapeutic agents are currently licensed for use to prevent or treat hMPV infections. The contribution of hMPV to pediatric respiratory tract infections suggests that it will be important to develop a vaccine against this virus in combination with those being developed for RSV and parainfluenza viruses. Reverse genetics technology is currently used to develop multivalent vaccines against hMPV and a variety of other important respiratory viruses such as RSV. Additional research to define the pathogenesis of this viral infection and the host’ specific immune response will enhance our knowledge to guide the search for preventive and therapeutical strategies.


Respiratory Syncytial Virus Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Respiratory Virus Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome African Green Monkey 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel/Switzerland 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adilia Warris
    • 1
  • Ronald de Groot
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical CentreNijmegen University Center for Infectious Disease, NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

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