Human coronaviruses ( HCoVs ) -OC43, -229E, -NL63 and -HKU1 cause upper and lower respiratory tract infections.
HCoVs are globally distributed and the predominant species may vary by region or year.
Prior studies have shown seasonal patterns of HCoV species and annual variation in species prevalence but national circulation patterns in the United States ( US ) have not yet been described.
The objective of a study was to describe circulation patterns of HCoVs -OC43, -229E, -NL63 and -HKU1 in the US.
Researchers reviewed real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction ( rRT-PCR ) test results for HCoV-OC43, -229E, -NL63 and -HKU1 reported to The National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System ( NREVSS ) by U.S. laboratories from July 2014-June 2017.
They calculated the total number of tests and percent positive by week.
117 laboratories reported 854,575 HCoV tests; 2.2% were positive for HCoV-OC43, 1.0% for HCoV-NL63, 0.8% for HCoV-229E, and 0.6% for HCoV-HKU1.
The percentage of positive tests peaked during December - March each year.
No significant differences in sex were seen across species, although a significant difference in age distribution was noted.
In conclusion, common HCoVs may have annual peaks of circulation in winter months in the US, and individual HCoVs may show variable circulation from year to year.
Different HCoV species may be detected more frequently in different age groups.
Further years of data are needed to better understand patterns of activity for HCoVs. ( Xagena )
Killerby ME, J Clin Virol 2018; 101: 52-56