Background: Currently, the role of the novel human polyomaviruses, KI (KIV) and WU (WUV) as agents of human disease remains uncertain.
Objectives: We sought to determine the prevalence of these viruses and their rate of co-detection with other viral respiratory pathogens, in an Australian population.
Study design: Polymerase chain reaction assays previously described were used to examine the presence of KIV and WUV in 2866 respiratory specimens collected from January to December 2003 from Australian patients with acute respiratory infections.
Results: KIV and WUV were present in our population with an annual prevalence of 2.6% and 4.5%, respectively. There was no apparent seasonal variation for KIV, but a predominance of infection was detected during late winter to early summer for WUV. The level of co-infection of KIV or WUV with other respiratory viruses was 74.7% and 79.7%, respectively. Both viruses were absent from urine and blood specimens collected from a variety of patient sources.
Conclusions: KIV and WUV circulate annually in the Australian population. Although there is a strong association with the respiratory tract, more comprehensive studies are required to prove these viruses are agents causing respiratory disease.