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1.
Viruses ; 14(6)2022 06 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1911630

ABSTRACT

From early 2020, a high demand for SARS-CoV-2 tests was driven by several testing indications, including asymptomatic cases, resulting in the massive roll-out of PCR assays to combat the pandemic. Considering the dynamic of viral shedding during the course of infection, the demand to report cycle threshold (Ct) values rapidly emerged. As Ct values can be affected by a number of factors, we considered that harmonization of semi-quantitative PCR results across laboratories would avoid potential divergent interpretations, particularly in the absence of clinical or serological information. A proposal to harmonize reporting of test results was drafted by the National Reference Centre (NRC) UZ/KU Leuven, distinguishing four categories of positivity based on RNA copies/mL. Pre-quantified control material was shipped to 124 laboratories with instructions to setup a standard curve to define thresholds per assay. For each assay, the mean Ct value and corresponding standard deviation was calculated per target gene, for the three concentrations (107, 105 and 103 copies/mL) that determine the classification. The results of 17 assays are summarized. This harmonization effort allowed to ensure that all Belgian laboratories would report positive PCR results in the same semi-quantitative manner to clinicians and to the national database which feeds contact tracing interventions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Belgium/epidemiology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
2.
PLoS Pathog ; 18(5): e1010515, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1875097

ABSTRACT

Worldwide outbreaks of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) in 2014 and 2016 have caused serious respiratory and neurological disease. We collected samples from several European countries during the 2018 outbreak and determined 53 near full-length genome ('whole genome') sequences. These sequences were combined with 718 whole genome and 1,987 VP1-gene publicly available sequences. In 2018, circulating strains clustered into multiple subgroups in the B3 and A2 subclades, with different phylogenetic origins. Clusters in subclade B3 emerged from strains circulating primarily in the US and Europe in 2016, though some had deeper roots linking to Asian strains, while clusters in A2 traced back to strains detected in East Asia in 2015-2016. In 2018, all sequences from the USA formed a distinct subgroup, containing only three non-US samples. Alongside the varied origins of seasonal strains, we found that diversification of these variants begins up to 18 months prior to the first diagnostic detection during a EV-D68 season. EV-D68 displays strong signs of continuous antigenic evolution and all 2018 A2 strains had novel patterns in the putative neutralizing epitopes in the BC- and DE-loops. The pattern in the BC-loop of the USA B3 subgroup had not been detected on that continent before. Patients with EV-D68 in subclade A2 were significantly older than patients with a B3 subclade virus. In contrast to other subclades, the age distribution of A2 is distinctly bimodal and was found primarily among children and in the elderly. We hypothesize that EV-D68's rapid evolution of surface proteins, extensive diversity, and high rate of geographic mixing could be explained by substantial reinfection of adults. Better understanding of evolution and immunity across diverse viral pathogens, including EV-D68 and SARS-CoV-2, is critical to pandemic preparedness in the future.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Enterovirus D, Human , Enterovirus Infections , Respiratory Tract Infections , Adult , Aged , Child , Demography , Disease Outbreaks , Enterovirus D, Human/genetics , Enterovirus Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2
4.
J Clin Microbiol ; 60(4): e0229821, 2022 04 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1759280

ABSTRACT

Critically ill patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may develop COVID-19-associated pulmonary aspergillosis (CAPA), which impacts their chances of survival. Whether positive bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) mycological tests can be used as a survival proxy remains unknown. We conducted a post hoc analysis of a previous multicenter, multinational observational study with the aim of assessing the differential prognostic impact of BALF mycological tests, namely, positive (optical density index of ≥1.0) BALF galactomannan (GM) and positive BALF Aspergillus culture alone or in combination for critically ill patients with COVID-19. Of the 592 critically ill patients with COVID-19 enrolled in the main study, 218 were included in this post hoc analysis, as they had both test results available. CAPA was diagnosed in 56/218 patients (26%). Most cases were probable CAPA (51/56 [91%]) and fewer were proven CAPA (5/56 [9%]). In the final multivariable model adjusted for between-center heterogeneity, an independent association with 90-day mortality was observed for the combination of positive BALF GM and positive BALF Aspergillus culture in comparison with both tests negative (hazard ratio, 2.53; 95% CI confidence interval [CI], 1.28 to 5.02; P = 0.008). The other independent predictors of 90-day mortality were increasing age and active malignant disease. In conclusion, the combination of positive BALF GM and positive BALF Aspergillus culture was associated with increased 90-day mortality in critically ill patients with COVID-19. Additional study is needed to explore the possible prognostic value of other BALF markers.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis , Pulmonary Aspergillosis , Aspergillus , Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid , COVID-19/complications , Critical Illness , Galactose/analogs & derivatives , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis/complications , Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis/diagnosis , Mannans , Mycology , Prognosis , Sensitivity and Specificity
6.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0259908, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1705817

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The incidence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections in the Belgian community is mainly estimated based on test results of patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-like symptoms. The aim of this study was to investigate the evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) positivity ratio and distribution of viral loads within a cohort of asymptomatic patients screened prior hospitalization or surgery, stratified by age category. MATERIALS/METHODS: We retrospectively studied data on SARS-CoV-2 real-time RT-PCR detection in respiratory tract samples of asymptomatic patients screened pre-hospitalization or pre-surgery in nine Belgian hospitals located in Flanders over a 12-month period (1 April 2020-31 March 2021). RESULTS: In total, 255925 SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test results and 2421 positive results for which a viral load was reported, were included in this study. An unweighted overall SARS-CoV-2 real-time RT-PCR positivity ratio of 1.27% was observed with strong spatiotemporal differences. SARS-CoV-2 circulated predominantly in 80+ year old individuals across all time periods except between the first and second COVID-19 wave and in 20-30 year old individuals before the second COVID-19 wave. In contrast to the first wave, a significantly higher positivity ratio was observed for the 20-40 age group in addition to the 80+ age group compared to the other age groups during the second wave. The median viral load follows a similar temporal evolution as the positivity rate with an increase ahead of the second wave and highest viral loads observed for 80+ year old individuals. CONCLUSION: There was a high SARS-CoV-2 circulation among asymptomatic patients with a predominance and highest viral loads observed in the elderly. Moreover, ahead of the second COVID-19 wave an increase in median viral load was noted with the highest overall positivity ratio observed in 20-30 year old individuals, indicating they could have been the hidden drivers of this wave.


Subject(s)
Asymptomatic Diseases/epidemiology , COVID-19/diagnosis , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Belgium/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Respiratory Tract Infections/pathology , Respiratory Tract Infections/surgery , Respiratory Tract Infections/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Young Adult
7.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-310500

ABSTRACT

Background: Zoonotic coronaviruses have repeatedly taken the spotlight leading to severe global epidemics over the last two decades. In addition, seasonal coronaviruses (sCoVs) broadly circulate in humans. Their epidemiology could have broad impacts on the spread of emerging coronaviruses, but has been neglected so far.Methods: Clinical samples and data were collected from hospitalized patients with severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and primary care patients with influenza-like illness (ILI), recruited through the national influenza surveillance networks in Belgium. Multiplex RT-qPCRs for respiratory viruses, including sCoVs OC43, NL63 and 229E, and SARS-CoV-2 were performed. Incidence rates of sCoV infection between 2015-2020 were estimated by season and age group. The impact of co-infections and comorbidities on the outcome of hospitalized patients was assessed.Findings: Hospitalized children under five carry the highest burden of disease for OC43 (IR =9·0, 95%CI 7·2-11·2 per 100,000 person-months) and NL63 (IR=5·2, 95%CI 3·9-6·9 per 100,000 person-months), while adults over 65 carry the highest burden of disease for 229E (IR=1·7, 95%CI 1·3-2·2 per 100,000 person-months). In hospitalized children under five, complications were associated with co-infections (p=0·02). Overall, comorbidities were strongly associated with a severe outcome following sCoV infection (p=0·006). In early March 2020, the SARI surveillance detected the first SARS-CoV-2-positive sample concomitantly with the first confirmed COVID-19 case without travel history to China. The ILI surveillance system captured two peaks in the number of primary care visits at weeks five (influenza) and 12 (SARS-CoV-2).Interpretation: We show that sCoVs can cause severe complications and death, especially in combination with pre-existing comorbidities and/or co-infections. Furthermore, we encourage the leverage of national influenza surveillance systems for early detection and monitoring of emerging coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV-2.Funding: Federal Public Service ‘Health, Food Chain Safety, and Environment’, National Insurance Health Care (INAMI/RIZIV), Regional Health Authorities (Flanders: AZG, Brussels: COCOM, Wallonia: AVIQ).Declaration of Interests: The authors declare no conflict of interest.Ethics Approval Statement: The study surveillance protocol was approved by a central Ethical Committee (reference AK/12-02- 11/4111;in 2011: Centre Hospitalier Universitaire St-Pierre, Brussels, Belgium;since 2014: Universitair Ziekenhuis Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium) and the local ethical committees of each participating hospital. Informed consent was obtained from all participants or parents/guardians.

9.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(11): 2892-2898, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1551452

ABSTRACT

We performed an observational study to investigate intensive care unit incidence, risk factors, and outcomes of coronavirus disease-associated pulmonary aspergillosis (CAPA). We found 10%-15% CAPA incidence among 823 patients in 2 cohorts. Several factors were independently associated with CAPA in 1 cohort and mortality rates were 43%-52%.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis , Pulmonary Aspergillosis , Cohort Studies , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
10.
J Infect Dis ; 2021 Sep 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1541543

ABSTRACT

Short-term humoral and cellular immune responses are diminished after BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 vaccination in Covid-19 naive nursing home residents, a population particularly vulnerable to the disease. We found both responses to decline after four weeks and remain lower than those of healthcare workers after twenty-four weeks, with an estimated half-life of the antibody response of 47 days. At four weeks, older age was significantly associated with a decreased humoral response, and diabetes mellitus and active malignancy with a decreased cellular response. Our results imply that Covid-19 naive nursing home residents are a target group for booster vaccination trials.

11.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0259908, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1511834

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The incidence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections in the Belgian community is mainly estimated based on test results of patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-like symptoms. The aim of this study was to investigate the evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) positivity ratio and distribution of viral loads within a cohort of asymptomatic patients screened prior hospitalization or surgery, stratified by age category. MATERIALS/METHODS: We retrospectively studied data on SARS-CoV-2 real-time RT-PCR detection in respiratory tract samples of asymptomatic patients screened pre-hospitalization or pre-surgery in nine Belgian hospitals located in Flanders over a 12-month period (1 April 2020-31 March 2021). RESULTS: In total, 255925 SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test results and 2421 positive results for which a viral load was reported, were included in this study. An unweighted overall SARS-CoV-2 real-time RT-PCR positivity ratio of 1.27% was observed with strong spatiotemporal differences. SARS-CoV-2 circulated predominantly in 80+ year old individuals across all time periods except between the first and second COVID-19 wave and in 20-30 year old individuals before the second COVID-19 wave. In contrast to the first wave, a significantly higher positivity ratio was observed for the 20-40 age group in addition to the 80+ age group compared to the other age groups during the second wave. The median viral load follows a similar temporal evolution as the positivity rate with an increase ahead of the second wave and highest viral loads observed for 80+ year old individuals. CONCLUSION: There was a high SARS-CoV-2 circulation among asymptomatic patients with a predominance and highest viral loads observed in the elderly. Moreover, ahead of the second COVID-19 wave an increase in median viral load was noted with the highest overall positivity ratio observed in 20-30 year old individuals, indicating they could have been the hidden drivers of this wave.


Subject(s)
Asymptomatic Diseases/epidemiology , COVID-19/diagnosis , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Belgium/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Respiratory Tract Infections/pathology , Respiratory Tract Infections/surgery , Respiratory Tract Infections/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Young Adult
13.
Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis ; 102(2): 115561, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1458726

ABSTRACT

We report on sample IS/17575 since it generated highly divergent results in the Belgian SARS-CoV-2 serology external quality assessment scheme. Sample IS/17575 was serum originating from a 30 years old male patient. 124 diagnostic laboratories analysed this sample. A total of 168 results was returned (including 5 doubles). Overall, 38 were positive. All tests against S1 were positive except the Euroimmun IgG ELISA and the Ortho clinical Diagnostics VITROS IgG CLIA. All tests against S1/S2 (Liaison, Diasorin) resulted in a signal above cutoff. Assays against RBD, mostly generate a negative result. An exception are the Wantai SARS-CoV-2 ELISA's. All tests targeting N protein were negative. The survey shows, when >6 months post-infection, assays targeting at least S1, and preferably S1 combined with S2, are the most sensitive. This finding accentuates the necessity of external quality assessment schedules and importance of antigenic composition of serologic SARS-CoV-2 assays.


Subject(s)
Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adult , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Belgium , Diagnostic Tests, Routine , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Humans , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , Male , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Sensitivity and Specificity
14.
J Med Virol ; 94(3): 1196-1200, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1453612

ABSTRACT

The effect of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Alpha variant (also known as B.1.1.7 lineage, 20I/501Y.V1, the UK variant or VOC 202012/01) infection on pregnancy is currently unknown. We present a case of a 37-year-old woman admitted to our tertiary hospital at a gestational age of 29 weeks and 1 day because of oligohydramnios with reduced fetal movements for 10 days. About 20 days before admission, she tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 Alpha variant. The following day, due to abnormal cardiotocography, increased brain sparing, and absent end-diastolic flow in the umbilical artery, an urgent cesarean section was performed. The neonate had an uneventful admission to the neonatal intensive care unit. All neonatal samples proved negative for SARS-CoV-2. Pathological examination of the placenta revealed intervillous fibrin deposition, ischemic necrosis of villi and histiocytic intervillositis, corresponding with the SARS-CoV-2 placentitis triad. The placental tissue demonstrated a high viral load, possibly explaining the acute onset of placental insufficiently and subsequent fetal distress. This case demonstrates the importance of seeking medical care when experiencing reduced fetal movement in SARS-CoV-2 infected patients since acute infection can induce significant placental and subsequent fetal pathology.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Placental Insufficiency , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious , Adult , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/diagnosis , Cesarean Section , Female , Fetal Distress , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical , Placenta , Placental Insufficiency/pathology , Pregnancy , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
15.
J Am Soc Nephrol ; 2021 Sep 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1443900

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Preliminary evidence suggests patients on hemodialysis have a blunted early serological response to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. Optimizing the vaccination strategy in this population requires a thorough understanding of predictors and dynamics of humoral and cellular immune responses to different SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. METHODS: This prospective multicenter study of 543 patients on hemodialysis and 75 healthy volunteers evaluated the immune responses at 4 or 5 weeks and 8 or 9 weeks after administration of the BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 vaccine, respectively. We assessed anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike antibodies and T cell responses by IFN-γ secretion of peripheral blood lymphocytes upon SARS-CoV-2 glycoprotein stimulation (QuantiFERON assay) and evaluated potential predictors of the responses. RESULTS: Compared with healthy volunteers, patients on hemodialysis had an incomplete, delayed humoral immune response and a blunted cellular immune response. Geometric mean antibody titers at both time points were significantly greater in patients vaccinated with mRNA-1273 versus BNT162b2, and a larger proportion of them achieved the threshold of 4160 AU/ml, corresponding with high neutralizing antibody titers in vitro (53.6% versus 31.8% at 8 or 9 weeks, P<0.0001). Patients vaccinated with mRNA-1273 versus BNT162b2 exhibited significantly greater median QuantiFERON responses at both time points, and a larger proportion achieved the threshold of 0.15 IU/ml (64.4% versus 46.9% at 8 or 9 weeks, P<0.0001). Multivariate analysis identified COVID-19 experience, vaccine type, use of immunosuppressive drugs, serum albumin, lymphocyte count, hepatitis B vaccine nonresponder status, and dialysis vintage as independent predictors of the humoral and cellular responses. CONCLUSIONS: The mRNA-1273 vaccine's greater immunogenicity may be related to its higher mRNA dose. This suggests a high-dose vaccine might improve the impaired immune response to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in patients on hemodialysis.

16.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(11): 2892-2898, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1406813

ABSTRACT

We performed an observational study to investigate intensive care unit incidence, risk factors, and outcomes of coronavirus disease-associated pulmonary aspergillosis (CAPA). We found 10%-15% CAPA incidence among 823 patients in 2 cohorts. Several factors were independently associated with CAPA in 1 cohort and mortality rates were 43%-52%.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis , Pulmonary Aspergillosis , Cohort Studies , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
17.
J Infect Dis ; 2021 Sep 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1405033

ABSTRACT

Short-term humoral and cellular immune responses are diminished after BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 vaccination in Covid-19 naive nursing home residents, a population particularly vulnerable to the disease. We found both responses to decline after four weeks and remain lower than those of healthcare workers after twenty-four weeks, with an estimated half-life of the antibody response of 47 days. At four weeks, older age was significantly associated with a decreased humoral response, and diabetes mellitus and active malignancy with a decreased cellular response. Our results imply that Covid-19 naive nursing home residents are a target group for booster vaccination trials.

18.
Clin Microbiol Infect ; 28(4): 580-587, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1375916

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) -associated pulmonary aspergillosis (CAPA) has emerged as a complication in critically ill COVID-19 patients. The objectives of this multinational study were to determine the prevalence of CAPA in patients with COVID-19 in intensive care units (ICU) and to investigate risk factors for CAPA as well as outcome. METHODS: The European Confederation of Medical Mycology (ECMM) conducted a multinational study including 20 centres from nine countries to assess epidemiology, risk factors and outcome of CAPA. CAPA was defined according to the 2020 ECMM/ISHAM consensus definitions. RESULTS: A total of 592 patients were included in this study, including 11 (1.9%) patients with histologically proven CAPA, 80 (13.5%) with probable CAPA, 18 (3%) with possible CAPA and 483 (81.6%) without CAPA. CAPA was diagnosed a median of 8 days (range 0-31 days) after ICU admission predominantly in older patients (adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 1.04 per year; 95% CI 1.02-1.06) with any form of invasive respiratory support (HR 3.4; 95% CI 1.84-6.25) and receiving tocilizumab (HR 2.45; 95% CI 1.41-4.25). Median prevalence of CAPA per centre was 10.7% (range 1.7%-26.8%). CAPA was associated with significantly lower 90-day ICU survival rate (29% in patients with CAPA versus 57% in patients without CAPA; Mantel-Byar p < 0.001) and remained an independent negative prognostic variable after adjusting for other predictors of survival (HR 2.14; 95% CI 1.59-2.87, p ≤ 0.001). CONCLUSION: Prevalence of CAPA varied between centres. CAPA was significantly more prevalent among older patients, patients receiving invasive ventilation and patients receiving tocilizumab, and was an independent strong predictor of ICU mortality.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis , Pulmonary Aspergillosis , Aged , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Critical Illness , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis/diagnosis , Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis/drug therapy , Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis/epidemiology , Mycology , Pulmonary Aspergillosis/complications , Pulmonary Aspergillosis/epidemiology , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2
20.
Lancet Microbe ; 2(3): e105-e114, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1152746

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Seasonal human coronaviruses (hCoVs) broadly circulate in humans. Their epidemiology and effect on the spread of emerging coronaviruses has been neglected thus far. We aimed to elucidate the epidemiology and burden of disease of seasonal hCoVs OC43, NL63, and 229E in patients in primary care and hospitals in Belgium between 2015 and 2020. METHODS: We retrospectively analysed data from the national influenza surveillance networks in Belgium during the winter seasons of 2015-20. Respiratory specimens were collected through the severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and the influenza-like illness networks from patients with acute respiratory illness with onset within the previous 10 days, with measured or reported fever of 38°C or greater, cough, or dyspnoea; and for patients admitted to hospital for at least one night. Potential risk factors were recorded and patients who were admitted to hospital were followed up for the occurrence of complications or death for the length of their hospital stay. All samples were analysed by multiplex quantitative RT-PCRs for respiratory viruses, including seasonal hCoVs OC43, NL63, and 229E. We estimated the prevalence and incidence of seasonal hCoV infection, with or without co-infection with other respiratory viruses. We evaluated the association between co-infections and potential risk factors with complications or death in patients admitted to hospital with seasonal hCoV infections by age group. Samples received from week 8, 2020, were tested for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). FINDINGS: 2573 primary care and 6494 hospital samples were included in the study. 161 (6·3%) of 2573 patients in primary care and 371 (5·7%) of 6494 patients admitted to hospital were infected with a seasonal hCoV. OC43 was the seasonal hCoV with the highest prevalence across age groups and highest incidence in children admitted to hospital who were younger than 5 years (incidence 9·0 [95% CI 7·2-11·2] per 100 000 person-months) and adults older than 65 years (2·6 [2·1-3·2] per 100 000 person-months). Among 262 patients admitted to hospital with seasonal hCoV infection and with complete information on potential risk factors, 66 (73·3%) of 90 patients who had complications or died also had at least one potential risk factor (p=0·0064). Complications in children younger than 5 years were associated with co-infection (24 [36·4%] of 66; p=0·017), and in teenagers and adults (≥15 years), more complications arose in patients with a single hCoV infection (49 [45·0%] of 109; p=0·0097). In early 2020, the Belgian SARI surveillance detected the first SARS-CoV-2-positive sample concomitantly with the first confirmed COVID-19 case with no travel history to China. INTERPRETATION: The main burden of severe seasonal hCoV infection lies with children younger than 5 years with co-infections and adults aged 65 years and older with pre-existing comorbidities. These age and patient groups should be targeted for enhanced observation when in medical care and in possible future vaccination strategies, and co-infections in children younger than 5 years should be considered during diagnosis and treatment. Our findings support the use of national influenza surveillance systems for seasonal hCoV monitoring and early detection, and monitoring of emerging coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV-2. FUNDING: Belgian Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety, and Environment; Belgian National Insurance Health Care (Institut national d'assurance maladie-invalidité/Rijksinstituut voor ziekte-en invaliditeitsverzekering); and Regional Health Authorities (Flanders Agentschap zorg en gezondheid, Brussels Commission communautaire commune, Wallonia Agence pour une vie de qualité).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coinfection , Coronavirus OC43, Human , Influenza, Human , Adolescent , Adult , Belgium/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Coinfection/epidemiology , Hospitals , Humans , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Primary Health Care , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
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