Human metapneumovirus prevalence during 2019-2021 in Israel is influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic

Michal Stein, Hodaya Cohen, Ital Nemet, Nofar Atari, Limor Kliker, Ilana S. Fratty, Efrat Bucris, Miranda Geva, Ella Mendelson, Neta Zuckerman, Michal Mandelboim*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To compare infection rates and circulating subtypes of human metapneumovirus (hMPV) before (2019-2020) and after the emergence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (2021) in Israel. Methods: In total, 12,718 respiratory samples were collected from hospitalized patients of all ages during the years 2019 to 2021 at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel and subjected to reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis. In addition, whole-genome sequencing was performed to characterize the subtypes of hMPV circulating in Israel between 2019 and 2021. Results: A total of 481 samples were found positive for hMPV. Before the emergence of COVID-19, hMPV peaked in winter months and declined thereafter. In sharp contrast, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we observed a delayed peak in hMPV infection cases and higher infection of young children. Viral sequencing showed a shift in the most prevalent circulating hMPV strain from A2b to B1 during the years 2019, 2020, and 2021. Conclusion: Compared with the years before the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2021, hMPV mostly affected young children, and the most prevalent circulating subtype shifted from A2b in 2019 to B1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-209
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
StatePublished - Jul 2022


FundersFunder number
Chaim Sheba Medical Center


    • Phylogeny
    • Pneumoviridae
    • Respiratory system
    • Viruses


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