Human adenovirus (HAdV) infection in children with acute respiratory tract infections in Guangzhou, China, 2010–2021: a molecular epidemiology study


Chen YiORCID,Lin Tao,Wang Chang-Bing,Liang Wan-Li,Lian Guang-Wan,Zanin Mark,Wong Sook-San,Tian Xin-Gui,Zhong Jia-Yu,Zhang Ying-Ying,Xie Jia-Hui,Zheng Ling-Ling,Chen Fei-Yan,Dang Run,Zhao Ming-Qi,Yang Yi-Yu,Zhou Rong,Zhu BingORCID


Abstract Background Human adenovirus (HAdV) infection can cause a variety of diseases. It is a major pathogen of pediatric acute respiratory tract infections (ARIs) and can be life-threatening in younger children. We described the epidemiology and subtypes shifting of HAdV among children with ARI in Guangzhou, China. Methods We conducted a retrospective study of 161,079 children diagnosed with acute respiratory illness at the Guangzhou Women and Children’s Medical Center between 2010 and 2021. HAdV specimens were detected by real-time PCR and the hexon gene was used for phylogenetic analysis. Results Before the COVID-19 outbreak in Guangzhou, the annual frequency of adenovirus infection detected during this period ranged from 3.92% to 13.58%, with an epidemic peak every four to five years. HAdV demonstrated a clear seasonal distribution, with the lowest positivity in March and peaking during summer (July or August) every year. A significant increase in HAdV cases was recorded for 2018 and 2019, which coincided with a shift in the dominant HAdV subtype from HAdV-3 to HAdV-7. The latter was associated with a more severe disease compared to HAdV-3. The average mortality proportion for children infected with HAdV from 2016 to 2019 was 0.38% but increased to 20% in severe cases. After COVID-19 emerged, HAdV cases dropped to 2.68%, suggesting that non-pharmaceutical interventions probably reduced the transmission of HAdV in the community. Conclusion Our study provides the foundation for the understanding of the epidemiology of HAdV and its associated risks in children in Southern China.


National Natural Science Foundation of China

Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province

Guangzhou School (Institute) Joint Funding Project

Municipal Science and Technology Bureau Foundation of Guangzhouy Bureau

Guangzhou Basic Research Program Co-funded by Zhongnanshan Medical Foundation of Guangdong Province


Springer Science and Business Media LLC


Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health

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