Respiratory virus detection and co-infection in children and adults in a large Australian hospital in 2009–2015

Natasha S. Ching, Despina Kotsanas, Mee L. Easton, Michelle J. Francis, Tony M. Korman, Jim P. Buttery

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Aim: This hospital network-based retrospective observational study aimed to describe the prevalence and seasonality of paediatric and adult viral respiratory pathogens and their rates of co-infections, following the introduction of a rapid multiplex molecular diagnostic assay. Methods: All nasopharyngeal samples tested in patients presenting to Monash Health, Melbourne, Australia, from August 2009 to July 2015 by means of multiplex tandem polymerase chain reaction using the Respiratory Pathogen 12Plex kit (AusDiagnostics) were included in the analysis. Results: There were 28 729 patient samples analysed after duplicate samples were excluded. Positive results were twice as likely in paediatrics, 7573/11 491 (65.9%), compared to adults, 5410/17 238 (31.4%). Co-infection was more frequent in paediatrics, 1642/7573 (21.7% of positives), compared to adults 299/5410 (5.5%). Adenovirus had a high prevalence as a co-infection, 639/990 (64.5%), in paediatrics. Testing frequency increased by 179% in the paediatric group and by 949% for adults over the 6 years of observation. Conclusions: This study demonstrated a significant difference in the positive detection rate of pathogens and co-infections between the population groups. Adenovirus had a surprisingly high prevalence as a co-infection, especially in paediatric patients. Over the study period, rapid uptake of the test was observed, especially in adults. This raises concerns about how we can ensure that testing remains rational and is able to be provided in a cost-effective manner in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1321-1328
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • co-infection
  • paediatric
  • polymerase chain reaction
  • respiratory
  • viral

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