Zhenqiang Bi*, Pierre B. H. Formenty and Cathy E. Roth.
A new virus was discovered by molecular techniques in respiratory samples collected from young children with respiratory diseases in Sweden in 2005. The virus, named human bocavirus, is genetically related to the bovine parvovirus and the canine minute virus, both of which belong to the bocavirus genus of the parvoviridae family. Recent studies conducted in different countries have shown that HBoV is found in 1.5 - 19% of children with respiratory diseases. HBoV has been observed to be associated with a broad spectrum of both upper and lower respiratory tract diseases, more frequently related to lower respiratory diseases, one third of which is pneumonia. HBoV infection is of worldwide distribution, and a seasonal distribution with a peak in winter and spring is suspected. There is increasing evidence that HBoV is pathogenic for the human respiratory tract, especially in infants and young children, and HBoV has been detected from patients with gastroenteritis. However, given the frequent co-infection with bacterial or viral pathogens, the exact role played by this virus in human diseases still remains disputable. Further investigations, including population- based studies with controlled subjects, are needed to prove its pathogenic potential and epidemiologic patterns.
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