Respiratory infections in elderly people: viral role in a resident population of elderly care centers in Lisbon, winter 2013-2014

Maria-Jesus Chasqueira, Paulo Paixão, Maria-Lúcia Rodrigues, Cátia Piedade, Iolanda Caires, Teresa Palmeiro, Maria-Amalia Botelho, Madalena Santos, Martin Curran, Raquel Guiomar, Pedro Pechirra, Inês Costa, Ana Papoila, Marta Alves, Nuno Neuparth

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OBJECTIVE: the aim of this study was to analyze the etiology and clinical consequences of viral respiratory infections in 18 elderly care centers (ECC) in Lisbon, which housed a total of 1022 residents.

METHODS: nasopharyngeal swabs were collected whenever an elderly had symptoms of acute respiratory infections (ARI). PCR and RT-PCR were performed for influenza A/B, human parainfluenza virus 1-4, adenovirus, human metapneumovirus (HMPV), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), rhinovirus, enterovirus, human coronavirus and human Bocavirus (HBoV). Array cards for atypical bacteria were also used in severe cases.

RESULTS: in total, 188 episodes of ARI were reported, being rhinovirus the most frequently detected (n=53), followed by influenza A(H3) (n=19) and HBoV (n=14). Severe infections were reported in 19 patients, 11 of which were fatal, Legionela pneumophila, rhinovirus, HMPV and RSV associated with these fatalities. Nine influenza strains were analyzed, all antigenically dissimilar from vaccine strain 2013/14. "Age", "HMPV" and "Respiratory disease" showed an association with severe infection.

CONCLUSIONS: in this study an etiologic agent could be found in 60% of the acute respiratory episodes. These data provides information about the circulating viruses in ECC and highlights the importance of searching both viruses and atypical bacteria in severe ARI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Early online date29 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Elderly
  • Elderly care centers
  • Legionella pneumophila
  • Real time PCR
  • Respiratory infections
  • Respiratory viruses


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