A new respiratory virus, human metapneumovirus, was recently identified. We detected this virus by PCR in ten (8%) of 132 consecutive children admitted to Turku Hospital, Finland, for acute expiratory wheezing (median age 7 months, range 4-25). The mean duration of hospital stay was 2.5 days (SD 1.6) and mean duration of respiratory symptoms was 19 days (8). The white blood cell count, C-reactive protein, and regulated upon activation, normal T-cell-expressed and T-cell-secreted (RANTES) concentrations in nasal secretion remained low, whereas interleukin 8 concentrations in nasal secretion were high. Human metapneumovirus is a clinically important causative agent of acute wheezing in young children.
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