Association of human metapneumovirus with acute otitis media

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2006 Jul;70(7):1189-93. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2005.12.007. Epub 2006 Jan 19.


Objective: Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) is a recently described paramyxovirus that has been associated with acute upper and lower respiratory infection (LRI) in infants and children worldwide. We previously observed that one-third of the children with hMPV-associated LRI had been diagnosed with a concomitant acute otitis media (AOM). In the current study, we sought to investigate an association between hMPV and children presenting with AOM as a primary diagnosis.

Methods: We used realtime RT-PCR for hMPV to retrospectively test 144 paired nasal wash (NW) and middle ear fluid (MEF) specimens that had been prospectively collected from children with AOM during a 3-year period from 1990-1992. RNA was extracted from archived, frozen samples and realtime RT-PCR for hMPV was performed.

Results: We detected hMPV in 8/144 (6%) NW and 1/144 MEF. Several of the children still tested positive for hMPV in NW 3 days later, showing persistent virus shedding. All were detected from November-May and six had bacterial co-pathogens. Two of the eight (25%) hMPV-infected children had no bacterial pathogen isolated, suggesting that hMPV may be associated with AOM as a sole pathogen.

Conclusions: These data show that hMPV is associated with a proportion of AOM and thus has additional morbidity and healthcare impact related to these illnesses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Metapneumovirus / genetics
  • Metapneumovirus / isolation & purification*
  • Morbidity
  • Nasal Lavage Fluid / virology
  • Otitis Media / epidemiology
  • Otitis Media / virology*
  • Paramyxoviridae Infections / complications*
  • Paramyxoviridae Infections / epidemiology
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • RNA, Viral