Background: Recent studies strongly suggest that some respiratory viruses are associated with the induction of acute wheezing and/or exacerbation of bronchial asthma. However, molecular epidemiology of these viruses is not exactly known.
Methods: Using PCR technology, we attempted to detect various respiratory viruses from 115 Japanese children. Furthermore, the detected viruses were subjected to homology, pairwise distance, and phylogenetic analysis.
Results: Viruses were detected from 99 (86.1%) patients. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) alone and human rhinovirus (HRV) alone were detected in 47 (40.9%) and 36 (31.3%) patients, respectively. Both RSV and HRV were detected in 14 (12.2%) patients. Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) alone and human parainfluenza virus (HPIV) alone were detected in 1 (0.9%) patient each, respectively. Homology and phylogenetic analyses showed that the RSV and HRV strains were classified into genetically diverse species or subgroups. In addition, RSV was the dominant virus detected in patients with no history of wheezing, whereas HRV was dominant in patients with a history of wheezing.
Conclusions: The results suggested that these genetically diverse respiratory viruses, especially RSV and HRV, might be associated with wheezing in Japanese children.