Epidemiology and clinical associations of human parechovirus respiratory infections.
Harvala H., Robertson I., McWilliam Leitch EC., Benschop K., Wolthers KC., Templeton K., Simmonds P.
Infections with human parechoviruses (HPeVs) are prevalent in young children and have been associated with mild gastroenteritis and, less frequently, with meningitis and neonatal sepsis. To investigate the involvement of these viruses in respiratory disease, a highly sensitive nested PCR was used to screen a large archive of respiratory specimens, collected between January and December 2007. Respiratory samples had previously been tested for eight respiratory viruses, including respiratory syncytial virus and adenovirus, by PCR. HPeV was detected in 34 of 3,844 specimens, representing 27 of 2,220 study subjects (1.2%). HPeV types were identified by sequencing the VP3/VP1 junction amplified by PCR directly from clinical specimens. The assay could amplify all HPeV types examined with high sensitivity (types 1 and 3 to 6) and also identified HPeV types in all but one of the screen-positive study specimens (25 HPeV1 and eight HPeV6 specimens). Infections with both HPeV1 and HPeV6 were seasonal, with highest frequencies in July and August, and restricted to children aged between 6 months and 5 years. Other respiratory viruses were frequently codetected in HPeV-positive specimens, with significant overrepresentation of adenovirus coinfections (37%). Most HPeV-positive specimens were referred from emergency departments, although no association with specific respiratory symptoms or disease was found. In summary, the low frequency of detection and lack of clear disease associations indicate that HPeV1 and -6 are not major pathogens in individuals presenting with respiratory disease. However, the screening and typing methods developed will be of value in further HPeV testing, including testing for meningitis cases and other suspected HPeV-associated disease presentations.