, Volume 167, Issue 1, pp 75-80
Date: 13 Feb 2007

Clinical manifestations of human coronavirus NL63 infection in children in Taiwan

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Human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63) is a global respiratory tract pathogen; however, the epidemiology of this virus in subtropical area is not well known. To evaluate the epidemics and disease spectrum of HCoV-NL63 infection in children in Taiwan, we prospectively screened children admitted to the hospital with respiratory tract infection from May 2004 to April 2005. Every enrolled child had a nasopharyngeal aspirate (NPA) sample taken. Quantitative RT-PCR was used to detect 1b gene of HCoV-NL63. A total of 539 NPAs were collected. Seven (1.3%) were positive for HCoV-NL63. All cases were boys younger than 3 years of age and most cases occurred in autumn. Co-infection with other pathogens was observed in three cases. The most common symptoms/signs of HCoV-NL63 infection were cough, fever, and inspiratory stridor. HCoV-NL63 was the most common pathogen (14.7%) in children with croup and was the cause of three cases of croup in October. The odds ratio of croup in children infected with HCoV-NL63 was 43.4 (95% CI 8.1∼233.1). In conclusion, HCoV-NL63 is an important respiratory tract pathogen as the main cause in children admitted to the hospital in Taiwan.