The frequency of viral pathogens causing respiratory infections in children in the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Teresópolis was investigated. Nasal swabs from children with acute respiratory illnesses were collected between March 2006 and October 2007. Specimens were tested for viral detection by conventional (RT)-PCR and/or real time PCR. Of the 205 nasal swabs tested, 64 (31.2%) were positive for at least one of the viral pathogens. Single infections were detected in 56 samples, 50 of those were caused by RNA viruses: 33 samples tested positive for rhinovirus, five for influenza A, five for metapneumovirus, four for coronavirus and, three for respiratory syncytial virus. For the DNA viruses, five samples were positive for bocavirus and one for adenovirus. Co-infections with these viruses were detected in eight samples. Our data demonstrate a high frequency of viral respiratory infections, emphasizing the need for a more accurate diagnosis particularly for the emerging respiratory viruses. The fact that the emerging respiratory viruses were present in 9.2% of the tested samples suggests that these viruses could be important respiratory pathogens in the country.
Respiratory infection; Viral infection; Viral diagnosis