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The role of infections and coinfections with newly identified and emerging respiratory viruses in children

Maurizia Debiaggi1, Filippo Canducci2*, Elisa Rita Ceresola2 and Massimo Clementi2

Author Affiliations

1 Dipartimento di Scienze Clinico-Chirurgiche, Diagnostiche e Pediatriche, sezione di Microbiologia, 20132, Milan, Italy

2 Laboratorio di Virologia e Microbiologia, Università degli studi dell'Insubria, Istituto Scientifico San Raffaele, Via Olgettina 58, 20132, Milan, Italy

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Virology Journal 2012, 9:247  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-9-247

Published: 27 October 2012


Acute respiratory infections are a major cause of morbidity in children both in developed and developing countries. A wide range of respiratory viruses, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza A and B viruses, parainfluenza viruses (PIVs), adenovirus, rhinovirus (HRV), have repeatedly been detected in acute lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) in children in the past decades. However, in the last ten years thanks to progress in molecular technologies, newly discovered viruses have been identified including human Metapneumovirus (hMPV), coronaviruses NL63 (HcoV-NL63) and HKU1 (HcoV-HKU1), human Bocavirus (HBoV), new enterovirus (HEV), parechovirus (HpeV) and rhinovirus (HRV) strains, polyomaviruses WU (WUPyV) and KI (KIPyV) and the pandemic H1N1v influenza A virus. These discoveries have heavily modified previous knowledge on respiratory infections mainly highlighting that pediatric population is exposed to a variety of viruses with similar seasonal patterns. In this context establishing a causal link between a newly identified virus and the disease as well as an association between mixed infections and an increase in disease severity can be challenging. This review will present an overview of newly recognized as well as the main emerging respiratory viruses and seek to focus on the their contribution to infection and co-infection in LRTIs in childhood.