The World Health Organization has highlighted the need for improved surveillance and understanding of the health burden imposed by non-influenza RNA respiratory viruses. Human coronaviruses (CoVs) are a major cause of respiratory and gastrointestinal tract infections with associated morbidity and mortality.
The objective of our study was to characterize the epidemiology of CoVs in our tertiary care centre, and identify clinical correlates of disease severity.
A cross-sectional study was performed of 226 patients admitted with confirmed CoV respiratory tract infection between 2010 and 2016. Variables consistent with a severe disease burden were evaluated including symptoms, length of stay, intensive care unit (ICU) admission and mortality.
CoVs represented 11.3% of all positive respiratory virus samples and OC43 was the most commonly identified CoV. The majority of infections were community-associated while 21.6% were considered nosocomial. The average length of stay was 11.8 days with 17.3% of patients requiring ICU admission and an all-cause mortality of 7%. In a multivariate model, female gender and smoking were associated with increased likelihood of admission to ICU or death.
This study highlights the significant burden of CoVs and justifies the need for surveillance in the acute care setting.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.