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Viruses 2012, 4(4), 637-653; https://doi.org/10.3390/v4040637

Co-circulation of Four Human Coronaviruses (HCoVs) in Queensland Children with Acute Respiratory Tract Illnesses in 2004

1
Queensland Paediatric Infectious Diseases Laboratory, Queensland Children’s Medical Research Institute, Sir Albert Sakzewski Virus Research Centre, Children’s Health Service, University of Queensland, Herston 4029, Australia
2
Clinical Medical Virology Centre, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, University of Queensland, Herston 4029., Australia
3
Molecular Basis of Disease research Program, Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Queensland 4222, Australia
4
Division Allergy-Immunology, Northwestern University, The Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
5
Queensland Children’s Medical Research Institute, University of Queensland, Herston 4029, Australia
6
Division of Microbiology, Pathology Queensland Central, Clinical and Scientific Services, Royal Brisbane Hospitals Campus, Herston 4029, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 March 2012 / Revised: 11 April 2012 / Accepted: 11 April 2012 / Published: 23 April 2012
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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. View Full-Text
Keywords: respiratory virus; coronavirus; HCoV-HKU1; HCoV-NL63; HCoV-229E; HCoV-OC43; real-time PCR; clinical impact 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.

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