Infectious Disease

Rhinoviruses, enteroviruses ‘kept persisting’ among children during COVID-19 pandemic

February 08, 2023

2 min read

Source/Disclosures

Disclosures:
Halasa reports receiving grants from Quidel and Sanofi and personal fees from Genentech outside the study. Please see the study for all other authors’ financial disclosures.

ADD TOPIC TO EMAIL ALERTS

Receive an email when new articles are posted on

Please provide your email address to receive an email when new articles are posted on . ” data-action=subscribe> Subscribe

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact [email protected].

Back to Healio

Rhinoviruses and enteroviruses accounted for nearly three-quarters of viral detections among children during the COVID-19 pandemic and persisted amid declines in other viruses, researchers reported in JAMA Network Open.

Natasha HalasaMD, MPH, a professor of pediatrics in the division of pediatric infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Vanderbilt University, and colleagues collected and tested respiratory specimens from children enrolled in the CDC-funded New Vaccine Surveillance Network, which conducts year-round surveillance for acute respiratory illness in seven US cities.

Rhinovirus and enterovirus (pictured) persisted as causes of pediatric viral illness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Source: CDC

As noted elsewhere, Halasa and colleagues reported a decline in common respiratory illnesses as a result of COVID-19 mitigation measures.

Natasha Halasa

“We noticed that flu and RSV went away. We then started noticing that in our clinical lab, rhinovirus was still being detected,” Halasa said. “We noticed that and were like, that seems interesting. And it kept persisting.”

For the current study, the researchers assessed prepandemic cases occurring between Dec. 1, 2016, and March 11, 2020, and pandemic-period cases diagnosed between March 12, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021. In a sample of 38,198 eligible ED and inpatient pediatric admissions, 11,303 tested positive for rhinovirus, enterovirus or both .

Rhinoviruses, enteroviruses or both were detected in 29.4% of 33,317 tested cases in the prepandemic period, and in 30.9% of 4,881 tested cases in the pandemic period. Among those who tested positive for any virus, rhinoviruses, enteroviruses or both accounted for 42.2% of 23,236 cases in the prepandemic period and 73% of 2,066 cases in the pandemic period. They were the most frequently detected viruses in both periods, regardless of age group, in both the ED and inpatient setting, Halasa and colleagues reported.

“These results were surprising to the people that didn’t think rhinovirus was a very significant virus,” Halasa said. “We’ve done some studies where we’ve looked at the combination of rhinovirus plus RSV [and concluded] it’s probably RSV that’s driving the illness. But if it is rhinovirus alone — especially if kids are having respiratory issues or asthma exacerbation or something along those lines — then you can feel confident that it probably is real and contributing to the illness.”

Halasa said that in the future, she would like to examine the persistence of the separate rhinovirus clades A, B and C.

“Which rhinovirus persisted, and is it the same one?” Halasa said. “Thesis [could be] different ones from the prior year. So I think that’s a question that still needs to be answered.”

References:

Haddadin Z, et al. pediatrics. 2021;doi: 10.1542/peds.2021-051462.

Rankin DA, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.54909.

ADD TOPIC TO EMAIL ALERTS

Receive an email when new articles are posted on

Please provide your email address to receive an email when new articles are posted on . ” data-action=subscribe> Subscribe

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact [email protected].

Back to Healio

COVID-19 virus graphic thin banner

COVID-19 Resource Center

Related Articles