Ruth Dunn

Ruth Dunn

PI: Natasha Halasa, MD, MPH , Department of Pediatric Infectious Disease

Comparison of Human Metapneumovirus Viral Loads in Children Seen in Emergency Department to Those Hospitalized

Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) is a leading cause of childhood death. Respiratory viruses are a commonly detected etiology among children experiencing ARI, and one of the leading causes of these viral ARIs is Human Metapneumovirus (MPV). In this study, we compare the clinical presentation and burden of MPV positive illness to non-MPV positive illness in the local pediatric population.

Children <18 years old presenting with ARI-related symptoms or fever were enrolled in the emergency department (ED) or as inpatients. Nose and throat swabs were collected and tested by quantitative PCR for 11 respiratory viruses, including MPV. Relevant data for demographic and clinical analyses of each child’s illness was captured through a standardized questionnaire and medical record review. Enrollment began December 1, 2016 and is ongoing. 

As of June 27, 2017, 1357 children were enrolled in the study. Of those, 108 (7.95%) specimens tested positive for MPV. Through the comparative analysis of children with MPV, other respiratory viruses, or non-viral ARI, we will describe differences in the factors leading to infection in pediatric populations with ARI. We will further compare children with MPV who were seen as ED patients to children with MPV who were admitted as inpatients to identify factors leading to hospitalization.

MPV is an important cause of respiratory illness, accounting for approximately 8% of pediatric ARI in our study. Potential differences in clinical presentation and viral load between ED and inpatient populations might predict severity and clinical outcome of MPV positive illness.