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Study Shows Link Between a Virus and Croup

A New Virus Called NL63 Could Be a Cause of Croup and Other Coughs

Symptoms of Croup continued...

Researcher Lia van der Hoek, one of the scientists who originally discovered the new coronavirus, and colleagues set out to determine the frequency of the virus in children under age 3 with lower respiratory symptoms.

From December 1999 to October 2001, the researchers obtained 949 mucus and saliva samples from children in four different regions of Germany.

The researchers found that 49 samples (5%) were positive for the new virus. Other common causes included respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which accounted for a third of causes.

Most of the positive samples were collected during the winter.

A higher number of samples collected from children seen in clinics (8%) than those hospitalized (3%) tested positive for the new virus.

A Pattern Established

Previous studies have reported certain trends in croup, including:

  • Boys are more susceptible
  • Occurs most frequently in the second year of life
  • Usually occurs in winter and early spring

Each of these factors is matched by patterns of the new virus' occurrence.

With an overall incidence of 5%, it is the third most frequent cause in this group of patients, they write.

"In conclusion, HCoV-NL63 infections occur frequently in young children with LRTI [lower respiratory tract infection] and show a strong association with croup, suggesting a causal relationship," van der Hoek writes.

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