BACKGROUND: To evaluate the enterovirus (EV)-positivity rate in respiratory samples collected from children ≤15 years hospitalized with severe acute respiratory infections (SARIs) and to describe the epidemiologic and molecular characteristics of EVs. METHODS: Respiratory samples were collected from 2468 children hospitalized with SARI at a university and research hospital in Milan (September 1, 2014 to August 31, 2017). EV and EV-D68 RNA were detected using a commercial multiplex and a specific real-time RT-PCR assay, respectively. The EV-D68-negative samples were then characterized by partial sequencing of the VP1 gene. RESULTS: EV-RNA was detected in 9% (222/2468) of SARI cases, 77% were children ≤3 years, almost 13% of whom required intensive care. EVs circulated all-year-round in 2 distinct epidemic waves (May-August and November-December). An EV-D68 outbreak, responsible for 14.8% of EV-positive-SARIs, occurred in 2016 and 5 newly emerging EV types were identified. Twenty-two EV types were detected and remarkable heterogeneity was observed in species distribution and between different pediatric age groups. CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that EV-positivity rate for our SARI series was 9%. The molecular detection and characterization of EVs allowed for the rapid detection of an EV-D68 outbreak and revealed the presence of emerging EV types that may pose a public health threat. The lack of routine screening and EV characterization in respiratory tract infections hampers the assessment of their epidemiologic and molecular features.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases