Human rhinoviruses (hRV) are small, RNA viruses of the Picornaviridae family, which are divided into three subtypes (A, B, C). hRVs are among the most common causes for acute respiratory illnesses (ARI) involving both the upper and lower respiratory tract.
This study aimed to assess the magnitude and characteristics of hRV infections in hospitalized children, aged less than 5 years, hospitalized in Israel during 2011-2012.
The 2503 respiratory samples were subjected to real-time PCR, to detect hRV and other respiratory viruses. Rhinovirus-positive samples were further tested by sequencing to identify the infecting species.
Of these 2503 respiratory samples, 422 tested positive for hRV, of them, 243 were from children under 5 years of age (58% of all rhinoviral-positive samples). We also found that among the ARI-associated hospital admissions, 16% were positive for rhinovirus. hRV type A was the most common species. Laboratory data showed monocytosis in 51%, hypercalcemia in 61% and lower respiratory tract involvement in 75% of patients.
We thus recommend including rhinovirus testing as part of the routine testing performed in young children presenting with ARI.