ABSTRACT: Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) is a recently discovered pathogen first identified in respiratory specimens from young children suffering from clinical respiratory syndromes ranging from mild to severe lower respiratory tract illness. HMPV has worldwide prevalence, and is a leading cause of respiratory tract infection in the first years of life, with a spectrum of disease similar to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The disease burden associated with HMPV infection has not been fully elucidated; however, studies indicate that HMPV may cause upper or lower respiratory tract illness in patients between ages 2 months and 87 years, may co-circulate with RSV, and HMPV infection may be associated with asthma exacerbation. The mechanisms and effector pathways contributing to immunity or disease pathogenesis following infection are not fully understood; however, given the clinical significance of HMPV, there is a need for a fundamental understanding of the immune and pathophysiological processes that occur following infection to provide the foundation necessary for the development of effective vaccine or therapeutic intervention strategies. This review provides a current perspective on the processes associated with HMPV infection, immunity, and disease pathogenesis.
Microbes and Infection 02/2006; 8(1):285-93. · 3.10 Impact Factor