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Single detection of human bocavirus 1 with a high viral load in severe respiratory tract infections in previously healthy children

Lili Zhou1, Shouyan Zheng1, Qiuyan Xiao1, Luo Ren1, Xiaohong Xie2, Jian Luo2, Lijia Wang2, Ailong Huang3, Wei Liu4 and Enmei Liu2*

Author Affiliations

1 Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Child Development and Disorders; Key Laboratory of Pediatrics in Chongqing, CSTC2009CA5002, Chongqing International Science and Technology Cooperation Center for Child Development and Disorders, Chongqing 400014, P. R. China

2 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Children's Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing 400014, P. R. China

3 Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases, Ministry of Education, Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, P. R. China

4 State Key Laboratory of Pathogens and Biosecurity, Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, Beijing, P. R. China

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:424  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-424

Published: 30 July 2014



Human bocavirus is a newly discovered parvovirus. Multiple studies have confirmed the presence of human bocavirus1 (HBoV1) in respiratory tract samples of children. The viral load, presentation of single detection and its role as a causative agent of severe respiratory tract infections have not been thoroughly elucidated.


We investigated the presence of HBoV1 by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of nasopharyngeal aspirate specimens from 1229 children hospitalized for respiratory tract infections. The samples were analyzed for 15 respiratory viruses by PCR and 7 respiratory viruses by viral culture.


At least one virus was detected in 652 (53.1%) of 1229 children, and two or more viruses were detected in 266 (21.6%) children. HBoV1 was detected in 127 children (10.3%), in which 66/127 (52%) of the cases were the only HBoV1 virus detected. Seasonal variation was observed with a high HBoV1 infection rate in summer. A cutoff value of 107 copies/mL was used to distinguish high and low HBoV1 viral loads in the nasopharyngeal aspirates. High viral loads of HBoV1 were noted predominantly in the absence of other viral agents (28/39, 71.8%) whereas there was primarily co-detection in cases of low HBoV1 viral loads (50/88, 56.8%). There were no differences in the clinical symptoms and severity between HBoV1 single detection and co-detection. In cases of HBoV1 single detection, the high viral load group was more prevalent among children with dyspnea and wheezing than was the low viral load group (42.9% vs. 23.7%, P = 0.036; 60.7% vs. 31.6%, P = 0.018). In clinical severity, a significant difference was recorded (25.0% vs. 5.3%, P = 0.003) between high viral load and low viral load groups. Of the HBoV1 positive patients associated with severe respiratory tract infections, 10/18 (55.6%) patients belonged to the HBoV1 high viral load group, and 7/10 (70%) patients had cases of HBoV1 single detection.


HBoV1 at a high viral load is not frequently found in co-detection with other respiratory viruses, and a single detection with a high viral load could be an etiological agent of severe respiratory tract infections.

HBoV1; Viral load; Single detection; Severe respiratory tract infection; Children