Is respiratory viral coinfection associated with greater clinical severity?




respiratory tract infection, Virology


Introduction: Lower respiratory infections are a major cause of hospital admission in pediatric care. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most commonly identified agent, either isolated or with other agents. Coinfection rates vary between 10-44%, with conflicting data regarding the role of coinfection in clinical severity.
Aims: This study aimed to assess whether viral respiratory coinfection is associated with a more severe clinical course.
Materials and Methods: This was a retrospective cross-sectional study based on the clinical records of patients under the age of five years admitted to the Pediatric Department of a level II hospital over 13 months and who tested positive in the immunofluorescence viral analysis of nasopharyngeal aspirates. Ten viruses were investigated.
Results: A total of 224 positive cases were identified among 434 patients in the study cohort (51.6%), with a coinfection rate of 5.8% (n=13). RSV was the most common virus, detected in 76.9% of coinfections. RSV-Coronavirus OC43 was the most common association found in coinfections. Forty-four percent of patients required supplemental oxygen. Five percent were transferred to a tertiary care hospital, although neither presented with coinfection. No statistically significant differences were found between both groups for any of the considered parameters, including hospital length of stay, transferal rate, supplementary oxygen requirement, or use of intravenous corticosteroids. Despite this, differences were found in the percentage of patients with at least one risk factor for respiratory infections (56% in patients with one virus identified vs. 69% in patients with coinfection).
Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that viral respiratory coinfection is not associated with a more severe clinical course. The scarcity of national studies and variable results in the literature highlight the need for additional studies with greater statistical power to better clarify the prognosis of patients with respiratory viral coinfection.


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Sousa P, Kochetkova N, Correia de Oliveira S, Mota P, Dias Ângela. Is respiratory viral coinfection associated with greater clinical severity?. REVNEC [Internet]. 2023Jun.23 [cited 2024Feb.25];32(1):15-22. Available from:



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