A new virus, named human bocavirus, that may be responsible for causing severe respiratory infections in children has been identified by a group of Swedish researchers. The finding of this virus is held to initiate a systematic search for all the viruses that cause respiratory infections.
Only 40 % of the viruses infecting patients have been identified which, outlines the need for a rapid testing of viruses to help in speedy diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
This approach would be especially valuable to curb diseases like influenza, in particular avian influenza that threaten to turn into a global pandemic.
Lower respiratory tract infection is a leading cause for hospitalization of infants and young children. The most important viral strain in this regard is the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Other important agents are influenza viruses, parainfluenza viruses, adenoviruses, rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, and human metapneumovirus. However the causative organisms have been identified in only about 12 to 39 % of the cases.
In a similar study conducted on patients with unspecified upper respiratory tract infection, acute bronchitis, sinus infections and pneumonia, the identification rate
was only 39%.
In view of the information given above, it is appropriate to draw a conclusion that
being able to test quickly to find out what is making someone sick can mean the difference between life and death because the administration of antiviral medications is of paramount importance in these patients.