Epidemiology and Infection

Original Papers

Viral respiratory infections

Human metapneumovirus infections are associated with severe morbidity in hospitalized children of all ages

A. HAHNa1a4 c1, W. WANGa3, P. JAGGIa2, I. DVORCHIKa3, O. RAMILOa2, K. KORANYIa2 and A. MEJIASa2 c1

a1 Department of Paediatrics, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus OH, USA

a2 Division of Paediatric Infectious Diseases, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus OH, USA

a3 Division of Statistics, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus OH, USA

a4 Division of Paediatric Infectious Diseases, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre, Cincinnati OH, USA


The impact of human metapneumovirus (HMPV) in children aged >5 years and the risk factors associated with disease severity for all ages have not been well characterized. A retrospective cohort study of 238 children aged 0–15 years hospitalized over a 3-year period was performed. Medical records were reviewed for demographic information, clinical parameters and outcomes. Multivariable analyses were performed to identify independent factors associated with worse disease severity assessed by length of hospital stay (LOS), need for ICU care, respiratory support, and a disease severity score. Pulmonary diseases were associated with all outcomes of care, while congenital heart disease (CHD) and neuromuscular disorders were associated with longer LOS, and CHD and trisomy 21 were associated with worse severity scores independent of other covariables. Fever, retractions, use of steroids and albuterol were also associated with enhanced disease severity. Understanding the determinants of HMPV disease in children may help design targeted preventive strategies.

(Received April 18 2012)

(Revised November 03 2012)

(Accepted November 28 2012)

(Online publication January 07 2013)

Key words

  • Asthma;
  • bronchiolitis;
  • human metapneumovirus;
  • respiratory infections


c1 Author for correspondence: A. Hahn, MD, or A. Mejias, MD, PhD, Department of Paediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases, Nationwide Children's Hospital, 700 Children's Drive WA 4022, Columbus, OH 43215, USA. (Email: andrealeighhahn@gmail.com) (Email: Asuncion.Mejias@nationwidechildrens.org)