University of Oulu

Kuitunen, I, Artama, M, Haapanen, M, Renko, M. Rhinovirus spread in children during the COVID-19 pandemic despite social restrictions—A nationwide register study in Finland. J Med Virol. 2021; 93: 6063- 6067.

Rhinovirus spread in children during the COVID-19 pandemic despite social restrictions : a nationwide register study in Finland

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Author: Kuitunen, Ilari1,2; Artama, Miia3,4; Haapanen, Marjut1;
Organizations: 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Eastern Finland, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Kuopio, Finland
2Department of Pediatrics, Mikkeli Central Hospital, Mikkeli, Finland
3Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Epidemiology, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
4Department of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinations, Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare, Tampere, Finland
5Department of Pediatrics, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland
6PEDEGO Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-01-17


Social restrictions during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic strongly affected the epidemiology of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). As rhinovirus seemed to spread despite the restrictions, we aimed to analyze rhinovirus epidemiology in children during the pandemic. This register-based study used data from the Finnish Infectious Disease Register. Nationwide rhinovirus findings from July 2015 to March 2021 were included and stratified by age (0–4, 5–9, and 10–14). Cumulative 14-day incidence per 100000 children was calculated. Four thousand five hundred and seventy six positive rhinovirus findings were included, of which 3788 (82.8%) were among children aged 0–4. The highest recorded incidence was 36.2 among children aged 0–4 in October 2017. The highest recorded incidence during the pandemic period was 13.6 in November 2020. The impact of the restrictions was mostly seen among children aged 0–4 years of age in weeks 14–22 in 2020. The incidence has since remained near reference levels in all age groups. Strict restrictions temporarily interrupted the circulation of rhinovirus in spring 2020. Rhinovirus incidence returned to normal levels soon after the harsh restrictions were lifted. These looser social restrictions prevented RSV and influenza seasons but failed to prevent the spread of rhinovirus.

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Series: Journal of medical virology
ISSN: 0146-6615
ISSN-E: 1096-9071
ISSN-L: 0146-6615
Volume: 93
Issue: 10
Pages: 6063 - 6067
DOI: 10.1002/jmv.27180
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors. Journal of Medical Virology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.