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Outbreak of Parainfluenza Virus During the COVID-19 Pandemic at a University Hospital in Korea by Eon Jeong Nam, Ji Yeon Ham, Kyung Eun Song, Dong Il Won, Nan Young Lee

Background: The incidence of respiratory viral diseases including parainfluenza virus (PIV) infection has decreased noticeably due to strict quarantine measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the recent outbreak of PIV in children occurred unexpectedly and the distribution pattern showed prominent differences from before the COVID-19 pandemic. PIV is one of the major viral pathogens related to acute lower respiratory infection in young children and the elderly. Accordingly, the authors intended to identify the incidence and distribution pattern of PIV outbreaks and to contribute to public health by providing information on it.
Methods: This study was conducted retrospectively to investigate the incidence and distribution of PIV according to age group, gender, month, and season, and to analyze the co-infections from March 2020 to February 2022. The detection for respiratory microorganisms was performed through FilmArray assay.
Results: The overall incidence for at least one respiratory pathogen was 45.9% (665/1,450). PIV was not detected at all from March 2020 to August 2021. However, it was first detected in September 2021 and the rate in the month that followed, October, accounted for 60% (114/190) of the total PIV infections during the entire study period. It also accounted for 44.9% (190/423) of patients with respiratory pathogens from September 2021 to February 2022. It reached the highest proportion at 90.5% (114/126) in October 2021. As for the distribution according to the age groups, group 3 (58.4%) accounted for the highest percentage, followed by group 4 (21.1%). In the PIV positive cases, the overall rate of more than two respiratory pathogens was 32.6% (62/190). The most common pattern of co-infection was PIV3 with rhinovirus/enterovirus (67.7%), followed by PIV3 with adenovirus (8.1%) and PIV3 with rhinovirus/enterovirus and adenovirus (8.1%).
Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many changes in our daily lives. It has been confirmed that the seasonal distribution of PIV was distinctly different from before the COVID-19 pandemic. It is anticipated that this phenomenon will affect the incidence or distribution of other respiratory pathogens and viral epidemiology. Therefore, clinicians should pay attention to these changes in terms of public health.

DOI: 10.7754/Clin.Lab.2022.220326