Background: Human bocavirus (HBoV) is a newly identified human parvovirus that was originally identified in the respiratory secretions of children with respiratory tract disease. To further investigate the epidemiological profile and clinical characteristics of HBoV infection, we screened infants and children <2 years of age (hereafter referred to as "children") for HBoV.
Methods: Children for whom respiratory specimens submitted to a diagnostic laboratory tested negative for respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza viruses (types 1-3), influenza A and B viruses, and adenovirus, as well as asymptomatic children, underwent screening for HBoV by use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Respiratory specimens were obtained from the children from 1 January 2004 through 31 December 2004.
Results: Twenty-two (5.2%) of the 425 children who had a respiratory specimen submitted to the diagnostic laboratory and 0 of the 96 asymptomatic children were found to be positive for HBoV by PCR (P=.02). Fever, rhinorrhea, cough, and wheezing were observed in > or =50% of the HBoV-positive children. Of the 17 children who had chest radiography performed, 12 (70.6%) had abnormal findings. HBoV appeared to have a seasonal distribution. Nucleotide polymorphisms were detected in the viral capsid protein (VP) 1/VP2 genes. Two distinct HBoV genotypes circulated during the study period.
Conclusions: HBoV is circulating in the United States and is associated with both upper and lower respiratory tract disease in infants and young children.