The effect of SARS-CoV-2 on existing respiratory pathogens in circulation remains uncertain. This study aimed to assess the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on the prevalence of respiratory pathogens among hospitalized children.
This study enrolled hospitalized children with acute respiratory infections in Shenzhen Children’s Hospital from September to December 2019 (before the COVID-19 epidemic) and those from September to December 2020 (during the COVID-19 epidemic). Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected, and respiratory pathogens were detected using multiplex PCR. The absolute case number and detection rates of 11 pathogens were collected and analyzed.
A total of 5696 children with respiratory tract infection received multiplex PCR examination for respiratory pathogens: 2298 from September to December 2019 and 3398 from September to December 2020. At least one pathogen was detected in 1850 (80.5%) patients in 2019, and in 2380 (70.0%) patients in 2020; the detection rate in 2020 was significantly lower than that in 2019.The Influenza A (InfA) detection rate was 5.6% in 2019, but 0% in 2020. The detection rates of Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Human adenovirus, and Human rhinovirus also decreased from 20% (460), 8.9% (206), and 41.8% (961) in 2019 to 1.0% (37), 2.1% (77), and 25.6% (873) in 2020, respectively. In contrast, the detection rates of Human respiratory syncytial virus, Human parainfluenza virus, and Human metapneumovirus increased from 6.6% (153), 9.9% (229), and 0.5% (12) in 2019 to 25.6% (873), 15.5% (530), and 7.2% (247) in 2020, respectively (p < 0.0001).
Successful containment of seasonal influenza as a result of COVID-19 control measures will ensure we are better equipped to deal with future outbreaks of both influenza and COVID-19.Caused by virus competition, the detection rates of Human respiratory syncytial virus, Human parainfluenza virus, and Human metapneumovirus increased in Shenzhen,that reminds us we need to take further monitoring and preventive measures in the next epidemic season.