Disruption of seasonal enterovirus and parechovirus detections in the CSF and plasma of children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.jcv.2023.105381


BACKGROUND: Enteroviruses (EV) and parechovirus (PeV) are a common cause of CNS infection in children. Both viruses demonstrate consistent seasonal patterns, with detections mainly in the summer-fall months. While research has shown COVID-19 pandemic-related disruption of traditional seasonality of respiratory pathogens, the pandemic's impact on non-respiratory pathogens is less understood. The aim of this study was to quantify the EV/PeV seasonal variations during pre-COVID years compared to variations observed during the COVID pandemic.

METHODS: Patients with EV/PeV testing of CSF/plasma between January 2012 through September 2022 were identified. Restricted cubic spline methods were used to model the detections. Poisson models were utilized to model pre-COVID (2012-2019) EV/PeV detections. The expected seasonal trends from these models were then compared to the observed EV/PeV detections during the COVID pandemic (2020-2022).

RESULTS: A total of 5199 patients were included. The annual pre-pandemic proportion of EV detections ranged between 7.5%-20.3%. PeV exhibited a biennial pattern with peak proportions between 8.0%-16.3%. EV/PeV detections during the COVID pandemic period, especially during 2020 and 2021, were considerably lower than would have been expected based on pre-pandemic modeling. However, PeV detections from January through September 2022 nearly reached the pre-pandemic modeled expectation, including instances of exceeded expectations.

CONCLUSIONS: A significant disruption in expected seasonal EV/PeV detections was observed during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, testing that occurred during summer-fall of 2022, when social mitigation initiatives were relaxed, showed a rapid increase in detections. Additional data are needed to further understand which public health initiatives are effective at decreasing EV/PeV transmission.

Journal Title

Journal of clinical virology : the official publication of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology



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MeSH Keywords

Humans; Child; Infant; Enterovirus; Parechovirus; Picornaviridae Infections; Seasons; Pandemics; COVID-19; Enterovirus Infections


Enteroviruses; Parechovirus; Public health strategies

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