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June 1991

The Causes of Hospital-Treated Acute Lower Respiratory Tract Infection in Children

Author Affiliations

From the National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland (Drs Nohynek, Eskola, Kleemola, and Leinonen); Aurora Hospital, Helsinki (Drs Eskola and Laine); Second Department of Medicine, Helsinki University Central Hospital (Dr Ruutu); and the Departments of Virology, Universities of Helsinki (Dr Saikku) and Turku (Finland) (Dr Halonen).

Am J Dis Child. 1991;145(6):618-622. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1991.02160060036016

• Objective:  To determine the etiologic agents in children with acute lower respiratory infection.

Design:  A survey of a series of patients.

Setting:  General pediatric hospital serving an urban population with and without referrals in Helsinki, Finland. Participants: 135 Finnish children aged 2 months to 15 years (mean, 1.75 years), with clinically defined acute lower respiratory infection (with difficulty of breathing), or found to ave fever and a pneumonic infiltrate on chest roentgenogram.

Selection Procedures:  Consecutive sample on voluntary basis.

Interventions:  None.

Main Results:  Of 121 children with adequate samples, an etiologic diagnosis could be established in 84 (70%): 30 (25%) had bacterial, 30 (25%) viral, and 24 (20%) mixed infections. Antibody assays alone identified the agent in 91% of positive cases.

Conclusions:  Bacterial infections are common but generally underestimated in acute lower respiratory infection; serologic methods add significantly to their detection.(AJDC. 1991;145:618-622)

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