Respiratory viruses (RVs) are known to be major causes of morbidity and mortality in recipients of hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCTs), but prospective long-term studies are lacking. We prospectively screened all adult HSCT recipients (172 allogeneic [alloHSCT] and 240 autologous [autoHSCT]) who underwent transplantation during a 4-year period (1999 to 2003) for the development of a first episode of symptomatic upper respiratory tract infections and/or lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) by an RV. RVs studied were influenza A and B viruses (n=39), human respiratory syncytial virus (n=19), human adenoviruses (n=11), human parainfluenza viruses 1 to 3 (n=8), human enteroviruses (n=5), human rhinoviruses (n=3), and the recently discovered human metapneumoviruses (n=19). During the study, 51 and 32 cases of RV symptomatic infections were identified of alloHSCT and autoHSCT recipients (2-year incidence, 29% and 14%, respectively). Risk factors for progression of upper respiratory tract infection to LRTI included severe (<0.2x10(9)/L) and moderate (<0.2x10(9)/L) lymphocytopenia in alloHSCT (P=.02) and autoHSCT (P=.03). Death from LRTI was attributed to an RV in 8 alloHSCT recipients. Symptomatic RV had no effect on 2-year outcomes, with the possible exception of influenza A and B virus infections in autoHSCT: these were associated with nonrelapse mortality (P=.02). In conclusion, this prospective trial allows an estimation of the minimum incidence of a first RV infection in adult HSCT recipients and identifies risk factors for acquisition of an RV infection and progression to LRTI; this should aid in the design of future studies. In addition, human metapneumovirus should be added to the potentially serious causes of RV infections in HSCT.