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Immunohistochemical assessment of respiratory viruses in necropsy samples from lethal non-pandemic seasonal respiratory infections
  1. Maria do Carmo Debur1,
  2. Sonia Mara Raboni2,
  3. Fabiane B Z Flizikowski3,
  4. Débora C Chong4,
  5. Ana Paula Persicote3,
  6. Meri B Nogueira5,
  7. Luine V Rosele5,
  8. Sergio Monteiro de Almeida5,
  9. Lucia de Noronha3
  1. 1Internal Medicine Postgraduate Program, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil
  2. 2Virology Laboratory, Infectious Diseases Discipline, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil
  3. 3Pathologic Anatomy Service, Hospital de Clínicas, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil
  4. 4Department of Pediatrics, Hospital de Clínicas, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil
  5. 5Virology Laboratory, Hospital de Clínicas, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil
  1. Correspondence to Dr S M Raboni, Virology Laboratory, Department of Infectious Diseases, Hospital de Clínicas, Federal University of Paraná, R Padre Camargo, n 280, 2nd floor, room 203, Curitiba, Paraná 80060-240, Brazil; sraboni{at}


Background/aim Acute respiratory infections are an important cause of childhood morbidity and mortality throughout the world, and viruses have often been reported to be an aetiological agent. This study aimed to identify respiratory viruses in paraffin-embedded samples of paediatric lung necropsy specimens, using immunohistochemistry on tissue microarray slides.

Methods Retrospective study in 200 lung tissue samples from children who had died from severe respiratory infections during 1985–2005. Immunoperoxidase assay was performed to detect the viruses that were most commonly associated with respiratory tract infections: influenza virus A (FLU A), influenza virus B (FLU B), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), adenovirus (AdV) and parainfluenza virus (PIV) types 1, 2 and 3.

Results Viruses were detected in 71 (35.5%) cases. Most positive cases were observed in children younger than 6 months. In 42.3% of cases, only one virus was detected: 11 (36.7%) RSV; 7 (23.3%) AdV; 4 (13.3%) PIV2; 3 (10%) FLU A; 2 (6.7%) FLU B; 2 (6.7%) PIV3; and 1 (3.3%) PIV1. Co-infection with more than one virus was observed in 41 (57.7%) cases. No positive correlations were observed between the presence of viral antigens and seasonality of the infection, sex, age or histopathological findings.

Conclusions Non-pandemic seasonal respiratory viruses are involved in a significant number of deaths in paediatric patients; these findings highlight the importance of laboratory investigation of these agents in patients hospitalised with severe acute respiratory infections.

  • Respiratory viruses
  • tissue microarray
  • immunohistochemistry
  • paediatric lung necropsies
  • virology

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Hospital de Clinicas - Federal University of Paraná (Register number 1099.138/2005-08; approved 30 August 2005).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.