Viruses play a significant part in children's respiratory infections, sometimes leading to hospitalization in cases of severe respiratory distress. The aim of this study was to investigate respiratory infections in children treated in a hospital intensive care unit (ICU). Assays were performed using the CLART® Pneumovir DNA array assay (Genomica, Coslada, Madrid, Spain), which makes it possible to detect 11 genus of respiratory viruses simultaneously. During the winter of 2008-2009, 73 respiratory specimens collected from 53 children under 2 years of age and admitted to an ICU were tested. At least one virus was detected in 78% (57/73) of the samples. The virological diagnosis was based on single infections in 65% (37/57) and on multiple infections in 35% (20/57) of cases. The array assay revealed respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in 73.6% (42/57) of the samples and rhinovirus in 24.6% (14/57), either on their own or in co-infections. All viruses identified in single and multiple infections were tested, taking into account clinical features, risk factors, and severity criteria. Children with no risk factors presented more multiple infections, up to 42% of cases, than children with at least one risk factor. RSV seemed to induce severe symptoms by itself as no difference in intubation needs was observed when RSV was detected on its own or in co-infection. The CLART® Pneumovir DNA array was useful for examining severe viral respiratory infections, when other viruses than those detected by conventional methods could be involved, particularly in an ICU.
© 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.