Biomarkers of Systemic Inflammation in Ugandan Infants and Children Hospitalized With Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection

Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health (East Africa)



Optimizing outcomes in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) pneumonia requires accurate diagnosis and determination of severity that, in resource-limited settings, is often based on clinical assessment alone. We describe host inflammatory biomarkers and clinical outcomes among children hospitalized with RSV lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) in Uganda and controls with rhinovirus and pneumococcal pneumonia.


58 children hospitalized with LRTI were included. We compared 37 patients with RSV, 10 control patients with rhinovirus and 11 control patients with suspected pneumococcal pneumonia.


Patients in the RSV group had significantly lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and chitinase-3-like protein 1 (CHI3L1) than the pneumococcal pneumonia group (P < 0.05 for both). Among children with RSV, higher admission levels of CRP predicted prolonged time to resolution of tachypnea, tachycardia and fever. Higher levels of CHI3L1 were associated with higher composite clinical severity scores and predicted prolonged time to resolution of tachypnea and tachycardia, time to wean oxygen and time to sit. Higher levels of lipocalin-2 (LCN2) predicted prolonged time to resolution of tachypnea, tachycardia and time to feed. Higher admission levels of all 3 biomarkers were predictive of a higher total volume of oxygen administered during hospitalization (P < 0.05 for all comparisons). Of note, CHI3L1 and LCN2 appeared to predict clinical outcomes more accurately than CRP, the inflammatory biomarker most widely used in clinical practice.


Our findings suggest that CHI3L1 and LCN2 may be clinically informative biomarkers in childhood RSV LRTI in low-resource settings.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal