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Volume 44, Number 5, October 2011

Human bocavirus as an important cause of respiratory tract infection in Taiwanese children

Chia-Yunn Chuang, Chuan-Liang Kao, Li-Min Huang, Chun-Yi Lu, Pei-Lan Shao, Ping-Ing Lee, Luan-Yin Chang

Received: April 20, 2010    Revised: August 1, 2010    Accepted: August 24, 2010   


Corresponding author:

Luan-Yin Chang, Department of Pediatrics, National Taiwan University Hospital, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan


Background and purpose: 

Human bocavirus (HBoV), first described in September 2005, was considered a causative agent of previously unexplained respiratory tract diseases. However, only few reports provide the evidence for an association between HBoV and respiratory tract diseases. We conducted a prospective clinical and molecular study of HBoV in Taiwan.




We enrolled 705 children who visited our outpatient pediatric clinics in a medical center because of symptoms and signs of respiratory tract infections from November 2008 to October 2009. Throat swab was performed and HBoV polymerase chain reaction and viral culture were done simultaneously.



Positive viral results were confirmed in 159 (22.6%) of the 705 children. HBoV was found in 35 samples and it was supposed to be as a single virus in 32 samples because viral isolation of these 32 samples did not identify other virus. The other three patients had coinfection with another virus. One child got HBoV reinfection 6 months after the first infection. Seventy-one percentage of these HBoV infections occurred between November and March. Of the 34 children with positive HBoV, 26 (76%) patients were younger than 5 years; their common symptoms were cough, rhinorrhea, and fever; the most common diagnoses were bronchitis (34%, 12/35) and sinusitis (31%, 11/35) followed by pharyngitis (29%, 10/35) and asthma exacerbation (26%, 9/35). Three of the 34 patients needed hospitalization.



HBoV is an emerging human parvovirus that may cause respiratory tract infection in young children. Diseases associated with HBoV may range from pharyngitis, sinusitis, acute otitis media to bronchitis, asthma, and even pneumonia.


Key words:

Bocavirus, Children, Respiratory tract infections