Background: Rhinoviruses frequently cause the common cold but have not been considered important causes of acute respiratory hospitalizations in children.
Methods: A population-based surveillance study was performed among children <5 years of age who were hospitalized with respiratory symptoms or fever and who resided within counties encompassing Nashville, Tennessee, or Rochester, New York, from October 2000 through September 2001. Data collected included questionnaires, nasal and throat swabs for viral culture and polymerase chain reaction testing, and chart review. Rates of rhinovirus-associated hospitalizations were calculated.
Results: Of 592 children enrolled, 156 (26%) were rhinovirus positive, representing 4.8 (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.3-5.2) rhinovirus-associated hospitalizations/1000 children. Age-specific rates per 1000 children were 17.6 (95% CI, 14.9-20.6) for 0-5-month-olds, 6.0 (95% CI, 5.0-7.0) for 6-23-month-olds, and 2.0 (95% CI, 1.6, 2.4) for 24-59-month-olds (P<.01). Children with a history of wheezing/asthma had significantly more rhinovirus-associated hospitalizations than those without a history (25.3/1000 children [95% CI, 21.6-29.5/1000 children] vs. 3.1/1000 children [95% CI, 2.7-3.5/1000 children]).
Conclusions: Rhinoviruses were associated with nearly 5 hospitalizations/1000 children <5 years of age and were highest in children with a history of wheezing/asthma.