Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 47, Issue 13, pp 1745–1750 | Cite as

Chest radiographic features of human metapneumovirus infection in pediatric patients

  • Melissa A. Hilmes
  • F. Daniel Dunnavant
  • Sudha P. Singh
  • Wendy D. Ellis
  • Daniel C. Payne
  • Yuwei Zhu
  • Marie R. Griffin
  • Kathryn M. Edwards
  • John V. WilliamsEmail author
Original Article



Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) was identified in 2001 and is a common cause of acute respiratory illness in young children. The radiologic characteristics of laboratory-confirmed HMPV acute respiratory illness in young children have not been systematically assessed.


We systematically evaluated the radiographic characteristics of acute respiratory illness associated with HMPV in a prospective cohort of pediatric patients.

Materials and methods

We included chest radiographs from children <5 years old with acute respiratory illness who were enrolled in the prospective New Vaccine Surveillance Network (NVSN) study from 2003 to 2009 and were diagnosed with HMPV by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Of 215 HMPV-positive subjects enrolled at our tertiary care children’s hospital, 68 had chest radiographs obtained by the treating clinician that were available for review. Two fellowship-trained pediatric radiologists, independently and then in consensus, retrospectively evaluated these chest radiographs for their radiographic features.


Parahilar opacities were the most commonly observed abnormality, occurring in 87% of children with HMPV. Hyperinflation also occurred frequently (69%). Atelectasis (40%) and consolidation (18%) appeared less frequently. Pleural effusion and pneumothorax were not seen on any radiographs.


The clinical presentations of HMPV include bronchiolitis, croup and pneumonia. Dominant chest radiographic abnormalities include parahilar opacities and hyperinflation, with occasional consolidation. Recognition of the imaging patterns seen with common viral illnesses like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and HMPV might facilitate diagnosis and limit unnecessary antibiotic treatment.


Bronchiolitis Chest Children Human metapneumovirus Infection Lungs Radiography Respiratory tract 



This work was supported by grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) U38 CCU417958 and U01 IP000022 (K.M.E., M.R.G.) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) AI-085062 (J.V.W.). The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the CDC.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

J.V. Williams is on the Scientific Advisory Board for Quidel, Inc., and the Independent Data Monitoring Committee for GlaxoSmithKline. M.A. Hilmes, F.D. Dunnavant, S.P. Singh, W.D. Ellis, D.C. Payne, Y. Zhu, M.R. Griffin and K.M. Edwards have no conflicts to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melissa A. Hilmes
    • 1
  • F. Daniel Dunnavant
    • 1
  • Sudha P. Singh
    • 1
  • Wendy D. Ellis
    • 1
  • Daniel C. Payne
    • 2
  • Yuwei Zhu
    • 3
  • Marie R. Griffin
    • 4
  • Kathryn M. Edwards
    • 5
  • John V. Williams
    • 6
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiostatisticsVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA
  4. 4.Department of Health PolicyVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA
  5. 5.Department of PediatricsVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA
  6. 6.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA
  7. 7.Children’s Hospital of PittsburghUniversity of Pittsburgh of UPMCPittsburghUSA

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