Hong Kong Med J 2012;18(Suppl 2):S27-30
Human coronavirus NL63 in children: epidemiology, disease spectrum, and genetic diversity
TF Leung, PKS Chan, WKG Wong, M Ip, WTF Cheng, PC Ng
Department of Paediatrics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong
1. Human coronaviruses (HCoVs) were detected in 2.5% of 2982 local children hospitalised for acute respiratory infections in 2005 to 2007.
2. Using the ‘pancoronavirus’ reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assay, detection rates were 0.6% for HCoV-NL63, 1.2% for HCoV-OC43, 0.5% for HCoV-HKU1, and 0.2% for HCoV-229E. Notably, HCoV-NL63 infections were significantly more common among children hospitalised in 2006/2007 (1.2%) than in 2005/2006 (0.3%).
3. The peak season for HCoV-NL63 infection was autumn (September to October).
4. HCoV-NL63 infection was associated with younger age, croup, febrile convulsion, and acute gastroenteritis. Such disease associations were not found with the other three HCoVs.
5. Most local HCoV-NL63 isolates were closely related to the prototype strain in Netherlands (NL496), but a few were phylogenetically distinct from the major cluster.