Predictors of respiratory syncytial virus, influenza virus, and human metapneumovirus carriage in children under 5 years with WHO-defined fast-breathing pneumonia in Pakistan

Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health; Medical College Pakistan


Background: Pneumonia is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in children < 5 years. We describe nasopharyngeal carriage of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human metapneumovirus (hMPV), and influenza virus among children with fast-breathing pneumonia in Karachi, Pakistan.
Methods: We performed a cross-sectional analysis of nasopharyngeal swabs from children aged 2-59 months with fast-breathing pneumonia, enrolled in the randomized trial of amoxicillin versus placebo for fast-breathing pneumonia (RETAPP) (NCT02372461) from 2014 to 2016. Swabs were collected using WHO standardized methods, processed at the Aga Khan University, Pakistan. Viral detection was performed using LUMINEX xTAG respiratory viral panel assay and logistic regression identified clinical and sociodemographic predictors.
Findings: Of the 1000 children tested, 92.2% (n = 922) were positive for viral carriage. RSV, hMPV, and influenza virus were detected in 59 (6.4%), 56 (6.1%), and 58 (6.3%) children and co-infections in three samples (two RSV-hMPV and one influenza-hMPV). RSV carriage was common in infants (56%), we observed a higher occurrence of fever in children with hMPV and influenza virus (80% and 88%, respectively) and fast breathing in RSV (80%) carriage. RSV carriage was positively associated with a history of fast/difficulty breathing (aOR: 1.96, 95% CI 1.02-3.76) and low oxygen saturation (aOR: 2.52, 95% CI 1.32-4.82), hMPV carriage was positively associated with a complete vaccination status (aOR: 2.22, 95% CI 1.23-4.00) and body temperature ≥ 37.5°C (aOR: 2.34, 95% CI 1.35-4.04) whereas influenza viral carriage was associated with body temperature ≥ 37.5°C (aOR: 4.48, 95% CI 2.53-7.93).
Conclusion: We observed a high nasopharyngeal viral carriage among children with WHO-defined fast-breathing pneumonia in Pakistan. Fever, difficulty in breathing, hypoxia and vaccination status are important clinical predictors for viral nonsevere community-acquired pneumonia.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses