Genetic diversity and epidemiology of human rhinovirus among children with severe acute respiratory tract infection in Guangzhou, China
Background Human rhinovirus (HRV) is one of the major viruses of acute respiratory tract disease among infants and young children. HRV is increasingly recognized not only as a cause of mild upper respiratory tract infection, but also in more severe lower respiratory tract infections. Methods Hospitalized children aged < 14 years old with acute respiratory tract infections were enrolled from August 2018 to December 2019. HRV was screened for by a real-time reverse-transcription PCR targeting the
... n PCR targeting the viral 5′UTR. Results HRV was detected in 6.41% of the 655 specimens. HRV infection was frequently observed in children under 2 years old (57.13%). HRV-A and HRV-C were detected in 18 (45%) and 22 (55%) specimens. All 40 HRV strains detected were classified into 29 genotypes. The molecular evolutionary rate of HRV-C was estimated to be 3.34×10− 3 substitutions/site/year and was faster than HRV-A (7.79×10− 4 substitutions/site/year). Children who experienced rhinorrhoea were more common in the HRV-C infection patients than HRV-A. The viral load was higher in HRV-C detection group than HRV-A detection group (p = 0.0148). The median peak symptom score was higher in patients with HRV-C infection as compared to HRV-A (p = 0.0543), even though the difference did not reach significance. Conclusion HRV is an important respiratory pathogen in paediatric patients. HRV-A and HRV-C predominate in children with severe acute respiratory infections (SARIs) in Guangzhou. Our findings underline the role of viral load in increasing disease severity attributed to HRV-C infection.