Abstract: Acute respiratory illnesses (ARIs) with unconfirmed infectious aetiologies peak at different times of the year. Molecular diagnostic assays reduce the number of unconfirmed ARIs compared to serology- or culture-based techniques. Screening of 888 inpatient and outpatient respiratory specimens spanning late autumn through to early spring, 2004, identified the presence of a human coronavirus (HCoV) on 74 occasions (8.3% of all specimens and 26.3% of all respiratory virus detections). Prevalence peaked in August (late winter in the southern hemisphere) when they were detected in 21.9% of specimens tested. HCoV-HKU1 and HCoV-OC43 comprised 82.4% of all HCoVs detected. Positive specimens were used to develop novel reverse transcriptase real-time PCRs (RT-rtPCRs) for HCoV detection. An objective clinical severity score was assigned to each positive HCoV patient. Severity scores were similar to those from a random selection of young children who were positive for respiratory syncytial virus at a different time but from the same specimen population. During the cooler months of 2004, sensitive and specific RT-rtPCRs identified the concurrent circulation of all four HCoVs, a quarter of which co-occurred with another virus and most of which were from children under the age of two years.
Keywords: respiratory virus; coronavirus; HCoV-HKU1; HCoV-NL63; HCoV-229E; HCoV-OC43; real-time PCR; clinical impact
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Mackay, I.M.; Arden, K.E.; Speicher, D.J.; O’Neil, N.T.; McErlean, P.K.; Greer, R.M.; Nissen, M.D.; Sloots, T.P. Co-circulation of Four Human Coronaviruses (HCoVs) in Queensland Children with Acute Respiratory Tract Illnesses in 2004. Viruses 2012, 4, 637-653.
Mackay IM, Arden KE, Speicher DJ, O’Neil NT, McErlean PK, Greer RM, Nissen MD, Sloots TP. Co-circulation of Four Human Coronaviruses (HCoVs) in Queensland Children with Acute Respiratory Tract Illnesses in 2004. Viruses. 2012; 4(4):637-653.
Mackay, Ian M.; Arden, Katherine E.; Speicher, David J.; O’Neil, Nicholas T.; McErlean, Peter K.; Greer, Ristan M.; Nissen, Michael D.; Sloots, Theo P. 2012. "Co-circulation of Four Human Coronaviruses (HCoVs) in Queensland Children with Acute Respiratory Tract Illnesses in 2004." Viruses 4, no. 4: 637-653.