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Clinical severity of pediatric respiratory illness with enterovirus D68 compared with rhinovirus or other enterovirus genotypes [Research]

Background:

Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) resulted in a reported increase in the number of children needing hospital or critical care admission because of respiratory insufficiency during 2014. It remains unclear, however, whether EV-D68 infections were more severe than rhinovirus or non–EV-D68 enterovirus infections.

Methods:

We evaluated consecutive children presenting to a pediatric hospital between Aug. 1 and Oct. 31, 2014, with positive nasopharyngeal swabs for rhinovirus or enterovirus that were sent automatically for EV-D68 testing. We compared characteristics and outcomes of patients with EV-D68 with those with rhinovirus or non–EV-D68 enterovirus in a matched cohort study.

Results:

A total of 93/297 (31.3%) of rhinovirus or enterovirus samples tested positive for EV-D68, and it was possible to compare 87 matched pairs. Children with EV-D68 infection were more likely to have difficulty breathing (odds ratio [OR] 3.00, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.47–6.14). There was no significant difference in admission to the critical care unit or death among children with EV-D68 infection compared with those with other rhinovirus or enterovirus infections (adjusted OR 1.47, 95% CI 0.61–3.52). Children with EV-D68 infection were more often admitted to hospital, but not significantly so (adjusted OR 2.29, 95% CI 0.96–5.46).

Interpretation:

Enterovirus D68 seems to be a more virulent pulmonary pathogen than rhinovirus or non–EV-D68 enterovirus, but we did not find a significant difference in death or need for critical care.

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