Bocaviruses belong to the Parvoviridae family of single-stranded DNA viruses and are pathogenic in some mammalian species including humans, cows, pigs, gorillas, chimpanzees, California sea lions, dogs, cats, bats, and pine martens. While many bocaviruses were initially identified in feces or respiratory secretion they can also be found in blood.

Two species infect dogs, minute virus of canines (MVC), causing diseases in newborn puppies and fertility disorders; and Canine bocavirus (CBoV), associated with respiratory disease.

Human bocaviruses (HBoV) are classified into species 1 through 4; hBoV1 is predominantly found in the respiratory tract, and hBoV2, hBoV3, and hBoV4 are found mainly in stool.

HBoV1 is frequently detected in patients with acute respiratory tract infection, including in those who are having wheezing, croup, cough, nasal discharge and fever, which resembles those of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human metapneumovirus (hMPV) infections. HBoVs were also frequently detected in asymptomatic children's respiratory tract secretions. Some studies suggested that persistent virus shedding was therefore being a reasonable explanation for the high occurrence of HBoV in healthy subjects.1

HBoV1 has also been reported in stool samples from children under 3 years old with acute gastroenteritis without respiratory tract disease and in the cerebrospinal fluid of children with encephalitis.5

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In children HBoV1 infection is associated with acute otitis media complication. Wheezing is a common symptom in early childhood. However, unmanageable wheezing is difficult to treat, and it may thus account for extensive use of medical resources. Previous studies indicated that airway HBoV1 infection and bacterial colonization can increase the risk of unmanageable wheezing.3,4

HBoV1 is able to persist in the infected cells which could explain the relatively high percentage of asymptomatic HBoV-positive patients in addition to those with primary infection. This process may contribute to chronic lung diseases and fibrosis, maybe resulting in tumors.


  1. High Viral Load of Human Bocavirus Correlates with Duration of Wheezing in Children with Severe Lower Respiratory Tract Infection. Yu Deng,1 Xiaoyang Gu,4 Xiaodong Zhao,2 Jian Luo,1 Zhengxiu Luo,1 Lijia Wang,3 Zhou Fu,1 Xiqiang Yang,2 and Enmei Liu1,* PLoS One. 2012; 7(3): e34353.
  2. Lung Infection by Human Bocavirus Induces the Release of Profibrotic Mediator Cytokines In Vivo and In Vitro. Soumaya Khalfaoui,#1 Vivien Eichhorn,#1 Christian Karagiannidis,2 Inga Bayh,3 Michael Brockmann,1 Monika Pieper,1 Wolfram Windisch,2 Oliver Schildgen,1 and Verena Schildgen1,* PLoS One. 2016; 11(1): e0147010.
  3. Role of Human Bocavirus in Upper Respiratory Tract Infections and Acute Otitis Media. Johanna Nokso-Koivisto,1,a Richard B. Pyles,1,2 Aaron L. Miller,1 Kristofer Jennings,3 Michael Loeffelholz,4 and Tasnee Chonmaitree1,4 J Pediatric Infect Dis SocPMC4865000
  4. Refractory wheezing in Chinese children under 3 years of age: bronchial inflammation and airway malformation Wenjing Gu, Wujun Jiang, Xinxing Zhang, Zhengrong Chen, Yongdong Yan, Li Huang, Meijuan Wang, Xuejun Shao, Shuhui Wang and Wei JiEmail author. BMC PediatricsBMC series – open, inclusive and trusted201616:145 DOI: 10.1186/s12887-016-0680-0
  5. Key elements of the human bocavirus type 1 (HBoV1) promoter and its trans-activation by NS1 protein Jingjing Li, Yongbo Yang, Yanming Dong, Yongshu Li, Yu Huang, Qianhui Yi, Kaiyu LiuEmail author and Yi LiEmail author Virology Journal201310:315 DOI: 10.1186/1743-422X-10-315

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