Background Human rhinoviruses (HRVs) are recognized as major cause of cold and flu-like illness.
Objectives To analyze the clinical features and disease burden for children with underlying medical disorders and documented HRVs infections.
Methods This is a retrospective study that include 48 children who were hospitalized for acute respiratory illnesses in KFSHRC between October 2007 and June 2010. HRVs in nasopharyngeal aspirates, swabs or Bronchoalveolar lavage were detected by nucleic acid detection tests in addition to 13 common respiratory viruses.
Results HRV was the most frequently detected virus 27% (48/181) in hospitalized children with acute respiratory disease. 63% of patients had chronic medical conditions and 37% of patients had immunocompromising conditions. The median age was 22 months, 58% were male. HRV showed broad seasonal activity. The peak incidence was in November, December and June. The most common symptoms were cough (58%), fever (56%), dyspnea 40% and running nose (25%). Crepitation and wheezes, were present in 23.9%, 20.8%, respectively. Twenty-two of 48 patients (46%) had chest radiographic abnormalities, most commonly atelectasis or lobar infiltrate. Seventeen (35%) patients needed intensive care unit (ICU) admission and thirteen (76%) required mechanical ventilation, there were two bacterial and one fungal co-infection documented in this patient. The mean duration of ICU stay was 17.9 days. Fifteen (88%) of the HRV-positive patients survived, while 2 (12%) patients died. Co-infection with other viral respiratory pathogens was common (17%).
Conclusion HRVs were associated with severe lower respiratory tract infection and hospitalization in children with chronic or immunocompromising conditions.