Recognition of infections with human metapneumovirus (HMPV) among institutionalised elderly is rising. When HMPV was found to be the causative agent of an outbreak of pneumonia in a residential care facility for elderly in the Netherlands, an elaborate outbreak investigation was set up, including active surveillance for new cases. From clinical cases, defined by fever (> 38°C) and symptoms of respiratory tract infections, respiratory samples for analyses of viral pathogens by real-time Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (rRT-PCR) and blood samples for determination of HMPV-specific IgM and IgG antibody titres were taken. Five staff members and 18 residents fulfilled the clinical case definition. Of those, five residents tested positive for HMPV by rRT-PCR. The combination of rRT-PCR and serology identified nine confirmed cases, six probable cases, six possible cases and ruled out two persons as cases. Among residents, the outbreak of HMPV had an attack rate, ranging from 5% for laboratory-confirmed cases, to 13% for clinical cases. This outbreak investigation shows that HMPV is a potential serious pathogen for institutionalised elderly.
Department of Virology

Wierik, M. J. T., Nguyen, T., Beersma, T., Thijsen, S., & Heemstra, K. A. (2012). An outbreak of severe respiratory tract infection caused by human metapneumovirus in a residential care facility for elderly in Utrecht, the Netherlands, January to March 2010. Eurosurveillance, 17(13). Retrieved from