Human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV) RNA quantification in nasopharyngeal secretions identifies the hRSV etiologic role in acute respiratory tract infections of hospitalized infants

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Background: Human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV) detection in nasopharyngeal aspirates (NPAs) from infants with acute respiratory tract infection (ARTI) does not prove the hRSV etiology of the current ARTI episode. HRSV RNA quantification may help in affording this issue. Objectives: hRSV was detected by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR in NPAs taken upon admission to hospital and, whenever possible, at discharge and subsequent medical visits. Study design: Prospective study, including 63 infants affected by either hRSV upper or lower ARTI. Results: Based on the kinetics of viral load, hRSV etiology was identified in 25 infants in whom hRSV load dropped from 2.5 × 106 upon admission (presence of respiratory symptoms) to 7.5 × 102 RNA copies/ml NPA upon discharge (absence of symptoms) after a median time of 5 days, and in 19 infants, in whom hRSV load was determined at admission only, in association with clinical symptoms (2.4 × 106 copies/ml). Furthermore, low levels of hRSV RNA (5 copies/ml NPA) identified 14 patients with non-hRSV ARTI. Finally, in 14 infants with hRSV coinfections or sequential infections, hRSV quantification defined the hRSV role in the current ARTI episode. Conclusions: hRSV RNA quantification is critical in defining the hRSV role in respiratory infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-124
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Virology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007



  • hRSV RNA quantification
  • Respiratory syncytial virus
  • RT-PCR
  • Viral respiratory infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Virology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases

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