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Global Health
August 20, 2019

Viruses Drive Children’s Pneumonia

JAMA. 2019;322(7):603. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.11801

Respiratory syncytial virus and other viruses have replaced bacteria as the leading cause of severe childhood pneumonia in low- and middle-income countries, according to a study in The Lancet that examined childhood pneumonia in 7 Asian and African countries.

The Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health study collected and tested samples from 4232 children younger than 5 years who were hospitalized with severe pneumonia at sites in Bangladesh, Gambia, Kenya, Mali, South Africa, Thailand, and Zambia over the course of 2 years. The researchers also collected and tested samples from 5119 children without pneumonia who lived nearby. The sites were chosen, in part, to assess the pathogens causing serious pneumonia in areas with a high uptake of the Haemophilus influenzae type B and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines.