Human metapneumovirus detection in patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome

Emerg Infect Dis. 2003 Sep;9(9):1058-63. doi: 10.3201/eid0909.030304.


We used a combination approach of conventional virus isolation and molecular techniques to detect human metapneumovirus (HMPV) in patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Of the 48 study patients, 25 (52.1%) were infected with HMPV; 6 of these 25 patients were also infected with coronavirus, and another 5 patients (10.4%) were infected with coronavirus alone. Using this combination approach, we found that human laryngeal carcinoma (HEp-2) cells were superior to rhesus monkey kidney (LLC-MK2) cells commonly used in previous studies for isolation of HMPV. These widely available HEp-2 cells should be included in conjunction with a molecular method for cell culture followup to detect HMPV, particularly in patients with SARS.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / epidemiology
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / physiopathology
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / virology*
  • Coronavirus / isolation & purification*
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Female
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Metapneumovirus / immunology
  • Metapneumovirus / isolation & purification*
  • Middle Aged
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / virology*


  • Antibodies, Viral