Human parainfluenza viruses (HPIVs) are a leading cause of acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs). Although HPIV-4 has been associated with mild ARTIs for years, recent investigations have also associated HPIV-4 infection with severe respiratory syndromes and with outbreaks of ARTIs in children.
To characterize the role of HPIV-4 and its clinical features in children with acute lower respiratory tract infections (ALRTIs) in Beijing, China.
Nasopharyngeal aspirates were collected from 2009 hospitalized children with ALRTIs between March 2007 and April 2010. RT-PCR and PCR analyses were used to identify HPIV types and other known respiratory viruses.
HPIVs were detected in 246 (12.2%) patients, of whom 25 (10.2%) were positive for HPIV-4, 11 (4.5%) for HPIV-2, 51 (20.7%) for HPIV-1, 151 (61.4%) for HPIV-3, and 8 (3.3%) were co-detected with different types of HPIVs. Like HPIV-3, HPIV-4 was detected in spring, summer, and late fall over the study period. Seasonal incidence varied for HPIV-1 and -2. The median patient age was 20 months for HPIV-4 infections and 7–11 months for HPIV-1, -2, and -3 infections, but the clinical manifestations did not differ significantly between HPIV-1, -2, -3, and -4 infections. Moreover, co-detection of HPIV-4 (44%) with other respiratory viruses was lower than that of HPIV-1 (62.7%), HPIV-2 (63.6%), and HPIV-3 (72.7%).
HPIV-4 plays an important role in Chinese paediatric ALRTIs. The epidemiological and clinical characteristics reported here improve our understanding of the pathogenesis associated with HPIV-4.