Burden, seasonal pattern and symptomatology of acute respiratory illnesses with different viral aetiologies in children presenting at outpatient clinics in Hong Kong.


Respiratory viruses cause acute respiratory diseases with a broad and overlapping spectrum of symptoms. We examined the clinical symptoms and explored the patterns of various respiratory viral infections in children in Hong Kong. Among 2090 specimens collected from outpatient care (2007-2010), 1343 (64.3%) were positive for any virus by the xTAG assay, and 81 (3.9%) were positive for co-infection. The most frequently detected viruses among children aged 6-15 years were enterovirus/rhinovirus and influenza virus A, whereas most non-influenza viruses were more frequently detected in younger children. Higher body temperature was more common for illnesses associated with influenza viruses than for those associated with non-influenza viruses, but other symptoms were largely similar across all infections. The seasonality pattern varied among different viruses, with influenza virus A being the predominant virus detected in winter, and enterovirus/rhinovirus being more commonly detected than influenza virus A in the other three seasons, except for 2009.

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