Rhinovirus Disease in Children Seeking Care in a Tertiary Pediatric Emergency Department

Helen Y. Chu, Janet A. Englund, Bonnie Strelitz, Kirsten Lacombe, Charla Jones, Kristin Follmer, Emily K. Martin, Miranda Bradford, Xuan Qin, Jane Kuypers, Eileen J. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Rhinovirus is the most common cause of viral respiratory tract infections in children. Virologic predictors of lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI), such as viral load and the presence of another respiratory virus (coinfection), are not well characterized in pediatric outpatients. Methods: Mid-nasal turbinate samples were collected from children presenting for care to the Seattle Children's Hospital emergency department (ED) or urgent care with a symptomatic respiratory infection between December 2011 and May 2013. A subset of samples was tested for rhinovirus viral load by real-time polymerase chain reaction. Clinical data were collected by chart reviews. Multivariate logistic regression was used to evaluate the relationship between viral load and coinfection and the risk for LRTI. Results: Rhinovirus was the most frequent respiratory virus detected in children younger than 3 years. Of 445 patients with rhinovirus infection, 262 (58.9%) had LRTIs, 231 (51.9%) required hospital admission and 52 (22.5%) were hospitalized for 3 days or longer. Children with no comorbidities accounted for 142 (54%) of 262 rhinovirus LRTIs. Higher viral load was significantly associated with LRTI among illness episodes with rhinovirus alone (OR, 2.11; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.24-3.58). Coinfection increased the risk of LRTI (OR, 1.83; 95% CI, 1.01-3.32). Conclusions: Rhinovirus was the most common pathogen detected among symptomatic young children in a pediatric ED who had respiratory viral testing performed, with the majority requiring hospitalization. Higher rhinovirus viral load and coinfection increased disease severity. Virologic data may assist clinical decision making for children with rhinovirus infections in the pediatric ED.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberpiu099
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 31 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Coinfection
  • Disease severity
  • Emergency department
  • Rhinovirus
  • Viral load

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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