Children attending childcare more prone to respiratory virus infections

31 May 2023
Children attending childcare more prone to respiratory virus infections

Children who attend childcare are at greater risk of adenovirus and human metapneumovirus infection, and they are also often exposed to other respiratory viruses in such environments, reveals a study.

“Childcare attendance is a common risk factor for acute respiratory illness (ARI) in young children,” the authors said. “Our goal was to better understand the specific respiratory viruses that predominate in childcare, which may support the development of tailored illness prevention and intervention strategies in childcare settings.”

Data from a prospective household cohort of ARI surveillance were utilized to evaluate specimens from 1,418 ARIs reported by 359 childcare-aged children over six study seasons (2012/2013 through 2017/2018). Polymerase chain reaction was used to test respiratory swabs for nine respiratory viruses.

The authors compared the odds of various viral detection outcomes using a mixed-effect logistic regression model. They also compared the richness (ie, number of species) and diversity (ie, relative species abundance) associated with respiratory viruses detected in both groups using the Shannon’s Diversity index.

There was at least one virus found in 75.5 percent of childcare-associated ARIs and in 80.1 percent of homecare ARIs.

Childcare illnesses, when compared to those among homecare children, significantly correlated with a higher likelihood of detected adenovirus (odds ratio [OR], 1.86, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.05‒3.28) and human metapneumovirus (OR, 1.76, 95 percent CI, 1.03‒3.0).

Notably, the pool of viruses associated with childcare ARI was substantially richer and more diverse relative to the pool of viruses seen with homecare ARI (p<0.0001).

“Our results underscore the necessity of thorough and multifaceted viral prevention strategies in childcare settings,” the authors said.

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