Date Published:2016 Nov 16
Human adenoviruses (HAdVs) are highly contagious pathogens causing acute respiratory disease (ARD), such as community-acquired pneumonia. HAdV-7d, a re-emergent genomic variant, has been recently reported in Asia and the United States after a several-decade absence. However, whether HAdV-7d is associated with higher severity than other types is currently unclear. In this study, the clinical and epidemiological investigation showed that fever, cough, and sore throat were the three most common respiratory symptoms of HAdV infections. HAdV-7 caused longer duration of fever, higher morbidity of tachypnea/dyspnea, pleural effusion, diarrhea, hepatosplenomegaly, consciousness alteration, as well as higher rates of pneumonia, mechanical ventilation and higher fatality rate (28.6%) than other types, particularly HAdV-3 and HAdV-2. The genomes of seven HAdV-7d isolates from mild, severe, and fatal cases were sequenced and highly similar with each other. Surprisingly, two isolates (2011, 2012) had 100% identical genomes with an earlier strain from a fatal ARD outbreak in China (2009), which elucidates the virus origin and confirms the unexpected HAdV genomic conservation and stability. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that L1 52/55-kDa DNA packaging protein may be associated with the higher severity of illness and fatality rate of HAdV-7. Clinicians need to be aware of HAdVs in children with ARD.