Among infants and children hospitalised in Kenya with severe pneumonia, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) appears to be the predominant virus detected, according to a new study.
In the study, doctors examined the viral causes of severe pneumonia among infants and children at a rural Kenyan district hospital using comprehensive and sensitive molecular diagnostic techniques. Participants were children aged one day to 12 years who presented and were admitted to Kilifi District Hospital for severe pneumonia or very severe pneumonia; presented with mild upper respiratory tract infection but were not admitted who presented for immunisation.
Nasal wash samples were obtained from the children and analysed for the presence of respiratory viruses. From January 1, 2007, through December 31, 2007, there were 922 eligible infants and children with severe pneumonia or very severe pneumonia admitted, and viral screening was conducted on 82 per cent of patients.
One or more respiratory viruses were detected in 425 participants in the case group. The researchers found that RSV was the most commonly detected virus, present in 260 admissions overall and in 192 of 453 infants. Other respiratory viruses were detected in 219 admissions. From their findings, the study’s authors concluded that detection of RSV was associated with admission with severe disease when compared with well control participants, and that these findings offer support that RSV vaccination may offer considerable public health benefit.