Strong Association of RSV and HMPV with Lower Respiratory Symptoms

Sarna M, Lambert SB, Sloots TP, Whiley DM, Alsaleh A, Mhango L, Bialasiewicz S, Wang D, Nissen MD, Grimwood K, Ware RS. Viruses causing lower respiratory symptoms in young children: findings from the ORChID birth cohort, Thorax, 2017 Dec 15, in press. Available from: doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2017-210233.


Disease-pathogen associations of respiratory viruses were described in a longitudinal community-based birth cohort study by Sarna and colleagues. This study was conducted among 158 term born infants from Australia who were followed up until their second birthday. Virus-specific attributable fractions in the exposed (AFE) was calculated to quantify the proportion of virus-positive infants whose acute respiratory infection (ARI) symptoms could be attributed to that particular virus. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human metapneumovirus (HMPV) were strongly associated with higher risk of lower respiratory symptoms (AFE: 68% (95% CI 45%-82%) and 69% (95% CI 43%-83%). This has highlighted the substantial impact of developing vaccines against these two viruses. However, the estimate is at a population level and cannot inform the aetiology of ARI at an individual level. Also, coinfection with multiple aetiological agents complicated the definition of individual contribution from each agent.

Full article on Thorax.