Feasibility of parental collected nasal swabs for virus detection in young children with cystic fibrosis.
OBJECTIVE We aimed to investigate differences in upper and lower respiratory tract symptoms in relation to respiratory viral infections detected with polymerase chain reaction assays in young children with cystic fibrosis and healthy control subjects. METHODS In a 6-month winter period, 20 young children with cystic fibrosis and 18 age-matched, healthy, control subjects were contacted twice per week for detection of symptoms of an acute respiratory illness. If any symptom was present, then a home visit was made for physical examination and collection of nasopharyngeal swabs for viral analysis. In addition, parents were instructed to collect nasopharyngeal swabs every 2 weeks. RESULTS Children with cystic fibrosis and healthy control subjects had similar frequencies of acute respiratory illnesses (3.8+/-1.0 and 4.2+/-1.7 episodes, respectively). Although there were no significant differences in upper respiratory tract symptoms, the children with cystic fibrosis had longer periods of lower respiratory tract symptoms (22.4+/-22.2 vs 12.8+/-13.8 days) and a higher mean severity score per episode (2.35+/-0.64 vs 1.92+/-0.46). In addition, similar increases in upper respiratory tract symptom scores were associated with significantly greater increases in lower respiratory tract symptom scores in children with cystic fibrosis. No differences in the seasonal occurrences and distributions of respiratory viruses were observed, with picornaviruses and coronaviruses being the most prevalent. CONCLUSIONS Although there were no differences in the seasonal occurrences and distributions of polymerase chain reaction-detected respiratory viruses, acute respiratory illnesses were frequently associated with increased lower respiratory tract morbidity in young children with cystic fibrosis.