Clinical severity and molecular typing of human rhinovirus C strains during a fall outbreak affecting hospitalized patients

A. Piralla, F. Rovida, G. Campanini, V. Rognoni, A. Marchi, F. Locatelli, G. Gerna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The circulation rate and the clinical severity of infections caused by members of the new human rhinovirus C (HRV-C) species remain to be defined. Objectives: To investigate the epidemiologic and clinical impact of HRV-C strains in a fall outbreak interesting hospitalized patients. Study design: HRV species (A-C) were determined by phylogenetic analysis following amplification of two genome regions (5′NCR and VP4/VP2) by RT-PCR. HRV species were correlated with age, respiratory tract involvement, clinical symptoms, and HRV load in respiratory secretions. Results: During the first week of the period October-November 2008, single HRV infections were associated with 95% of all respiratory syndromes affecting hospitalized patients. Then, HRV infections (single + coinfections) interested about 90% of positive samples until the end of October, when they declined in frequency until reaching about 30% at the end of November. Overall, 104 HRV strains were detected and, of these, 90 could be classified by phylogenetic analysis, as follows: 45 HRV-A, 12 HRV-B, 28 HRV-C, and 5 human enterovirus D strains. HRV-C identity was confirmed by detection of cis-acting replication elements (cre) in 23/23 strains. As for severity of respiratory syndromes, unlike HRV-A and HRV-B strains, HRV-C strains were responsible for a significantly higher rate (p <0.05) of lower respiratory tract infections in the pediatric as compared to adult patient population. Conclusions: HRV-C strains have been shown to circulate at a rate intermediate between HRV-A and HRV-B strains, showing a greater degree of clinical severity in the pediatric population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-317
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Virology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


  • Human rhinovirus C
  • Real-time RT-PCR
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Rhinovirus load
  • Rhinovirus type

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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