The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 and subsequent COVID-19 pandemic highlights the morbidity and potential disease severity caused by respiratory viruses. To elucidate pathogen prevalence, etiology of coinfections and URIs from symptomatic adult Emergency department patients in a pre-SARS-CoV-2 environment, we evaluated specimens from four geographically diverse Emergency departments in the United States from 2013-2014 utilizing ePlex RP RUO cartridges (Genmark Diagnostics). The overall positivity was 30.1% (241/799), with 6.6% (16/241) coinfections. Noninfluenza pathogens from most to least common were rhinovirus/enterovirus, coronavirus, human metapneumovirus and RSV, respectively. Broad differences in disease prevalence and pathogen distributions were observed across geographic regions; the site with the highest detection rate (for both mono and coinfections) demonstrated the greatest pathogen diversity. A variety of respiratory pathogens and geographic variations in disease prevalence and copathogen type were observed. Further research is required to evaluate the clinical relevance of these findings, especially considering the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and related questions regarding SARS-CoV-2 disease severity and the presence of co-infections.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.