Original Article

Molecular epidemiology of respiratory viruses among Malaysian Young children with a confirmed respiratory infection during 2014–2015

Su Mei Yew, Ka-Liong Tan, Siok Koon Yeo, Kee Peng Ng, Chee Sian Kuan


Background: In many developing countries, acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs) are the main cause of morbidity and mortality among young children. This study aims to evaluate the molecular epidemiology of respiratory viruses among Malaysian children with confirmed respiratory infections between July 2014 and July 2015.
Methods: A total of 394 nasopharyngeal swabs were collected prospectively from children age 0–5 years old with ARTIs from hospitals in Kuala Lumpur. Respiratory viral panel (RVP) assay was used to identify the viral aetiology of respiratory infections.
Results: From a total of 394 samples, the positive detection rate was 79.9% (n=315). A total of 15 types of RNA viruses and a single type of DNA virus were detected. Enterovirus/rhinovirus (n=112, 28.4%), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) (n=85, 21.6%), adenovirus (n=64, 16.2%), human bocavirus (n=34, 8.6%), and human metapneumovirus (n=29, 7.4%) were the five predominant viruses. Enterovirus/rhinovirus and RSV constituted most of the viral respiratory infections among young children, especially among children less than 1 year old. No coronavirus was detected among children between 3 and 5 years old. Co-infection caused by 2 or 3 respiratory viruses were detected in 52 patients (13.2%). Enterovirus/rhinovirus, adenovirus, and human bocavirus demonstrated pronounced seasonality. The infection rate peaked during mid-year, while the lowest activity occurred during early of the year.
Conclusions: The use of molecular assay as a routine diagnostic in the hospitals can improve the diagnosis and management of respiratory tract infections among children.

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