Respiratory viral infections in patients with chronic, obstructive pulmonary disease

J Infect. 2005 May;50(4):322-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2004.07.011.


Objectives: The purpose of the present study was to apply reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) assays to clinical specimens collected from patients with acute respiratory illness and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Methods: One hundred and ninety-four samples from two different study cohorts were analysed using RT-PCR assays for picornaviruses, coronaviruses 229E and OC43, influenza A and B viruses, respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza types 1-3 viruses, and human metapneumovirus and a PCR assay for adenoviruses. The results were added to results obtained previously using cell culture and serologic methods.

Results: RT-PCR assays identified an additional 35 respiratory virus-associated illnesses not identified previously by cell culture or serology (n=46). Picornaviruses and coronaviruses were the most common viral infections identified only by RT-PCR. Overall, 41.8% of the acute respiratory illnesses evaluated were associated with a respiratory virus infection, with picornaviruses, coronaviruses and influenza viruses being the most common infections recognized. No human metapneumovirus infections were identified by RT-PCR assay.

Conclusions: Respiratory viral infections are commonly associated with acute respiratory illness in COPD patients, and the use of RT-PCR assays significantly increases the ability to diagnose these infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Influenza, Human / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Metapneumovirus
  • Middle Aged
  • Paramyxoviridae Infections / diagnosis
  • Picornaviridae Infections / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / diagnosis
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / diagnosis*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Virus Diseases / diagnosis*