Background: Pneumonia, the leading infectious cause of child mortality globally, mainly afflicts developing countries. This prospective observational study aimed to assess the microorganisms associated with pneumonia in children aged <5 years in developing and emerging countries.
Methods: A multicenter, case-control study by the GABRIEL (Global Approach to Biological Research, Infectious diseases and Epidemics in Low-income countries) network was conducted between 2010 and 2014 in Cambodia, China, Haiti, India (2 sites), Madagascar, Mali, Mongolia, and Paraguay. Cases were hospitalized children with radiologically confirmed pneumonia; controls were children from the same setting without any features suggestive of pneumonia. Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected from all subjects; 19 viruses and 5 bacteria were identified by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. Associations between microorganisms and pneumonia were quantified by calculating the adjusted population attributable fraction (aPAF) after multivariate logistic regression analysis adjusted for sex, age, time period, other pathogens, and site.
Results: Overall, 888 cases and 870 controls were analyzed; ≥1 microorganism was detected in respiratory samples in 93.0% of cases and 74.4% of controls (P < .001). Streptococcus pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, human metapneumovirus, rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), parainfluenza virus 1, 3, and 4, and influenza virus A and B were independently associated with pneumonia; aPAF was 42.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 35.5%-48.2%) for S. pneumoniae, 18.2% (95% CI, 17.4%-19.0%) for RSV, and 11.2% (95% CI, 7.5%-14.7%) for rhinovirus.
Conclusions: Streptococcus pneumoniae, RSV, and rhinovirus may be the major microorganisms associated with pneumonia infections in children <5 years of age from developing and emerging countries. Increasing S. pneumoniae vaccination coverage may substantially reduce the burden of pneumonia among children in developing countries.