Streptococcus pneumoniae colonization of the nasopharynx is associated with increased severity during respiratory syncytial virus infection in young children.Respirology. 2018 02; 23(2):220-227.R
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most significant cause of acute respiratory infection (ARI) in early life. RSV and other respiratory viruses are known to stimulate substantial outgrowth of potentially pathogenic bacteria in the upper airways of young children. However, the clinical significance of interactions between viruses and bacteria is currently unclear. The present study aimed to clarify the effect of viral and bacterial co-detections on disease severity during paediatric ARI.
Nasopharyngeal aspirates from children under 2 years of age presenting with ARI to the emergency department were screened by quantitative PCR for 17 respiratory viruses and the bacterial pathogens Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis. Associations between pathogen detection and clinical measures of disease severity were investigated.
RSV was the most common virus detected, present in 29 of 58 samples from children with ARI (50%). Detection of S. pneumoniae was significantly more frequent during RSV infections compared to other respiratory viruses (adjusted effect size: 1.8, P: 0.03), and co-detection of both pathogens was associated with higher clinical disease severity scores (adjusted effect size: 1.2, P: 0.03).
Co-detection of RSV and S. pneumoniae in the nasopharynx was associated with more severe ARI, suggesting that S. pneumoniae colonization plays a pathogenic role in young children.