According to the findings of a recent study, cases of community-acquired pneumonia were frequently the result of viral infections, especially RSV, among children and adolescents in a heavily vaccinated population. In the observational study, researchers formed a cohort of 265 children and adolescents under the age of 18 with clinical and radiological signs of pneumonia. The research team tested nasopharyngeal samples and paired sera and cultures from blood and pleura to determine the viral or bacterial causative pathogens.
The study was conducted at a single pediatric center with in- and outpatients from 2012 to 2014. According to Healio, the researchers wrote that 84.9% of the cohort had received pneumococcal vaccine, and causative pathogens were confirmed for 84.2% of study participants. Among them, single viral etiology was confirmed for 63.4% of patients, atypical bacteria for 7.9%, and other mixed or single bacteria for 12.8%.
Also, more than 40% of cases were caused by RSV among all age groups and while RSV was the dominant cause in children aged young than 5 years, Mycoplasma pneumonia bacteria were the primary cause in children aged older than 5 years. The researchers noted that cases of multiple viral causative pathogens among a single patient were higher in this study (24.5%) than other community-acquired pneumonia studies, as indicated in the Healio news report.
“Our main objective was to identify the contribution of various microbiological species that causes pneumonia in previously healthy children and adolescents,” writes Are Stuwitz Berg, MD, and colleagues. “We found a high proportion of viral etiology and a low proportion of bacterial etiology in this prospective study of radiologically confirmed community-acquired pneumonia in a pediatric population with a high vaccination rate for pneumococci.”
Berg and colleagues add, “We hope that our results may contribute to improved community-acquired pneumonia management guidelines and eventually reduce antibiotic overuse in areas where widespread pneumococcal vaccination is provided. The low pneumococcal burden may reflect the success of widespread pneumococcal vaccination, and the high viral burden points to the development of viral vaccines and therapy for future reduction in the substantial morbidity due to pneumonia in the pediatric population.”