[Community acquired pneumonia and influenza in children]

Arch Pediatr. 2003 Dec;10(12):1056-60. doi: 10.1016/j.arcped.2003.09.032.
[Article in French]


Children without chronic or serious medical conditions are at increased risk for hospitalization during influenza seasons, mainly with respiratory tract infections. But influenza virus infections frequently remain undiagnosed, even in hospitalized patients. We prospectively studied the rate of concomitant and preceding influenza infections in children hospitalized with a community acquired pneumonia (CAP).

Population and methods: All 1-15-year-old children with CAP requiring hospitalization between 1st April 2000 and 2002 had nasopharyngeal aspirate for viruses, immunofluorescence and serologies for respiratory pathogens. The peak of influenza IgG measured by complement fixation (CF) is transient, and a titer of 1/64 or more indicates an acute influenza infection in the preceding weeks. Children with chronic disease were excluded and a control group of patients from outpatient clinic was measured.

Results: Among 33 previously healthy children (age 4.9 years, range 1.2-14 years), 8 had a pneumococcal pneumonia, 10 a pneumonia caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae (MP), 1 by Chlamydia pneumonia, and 8 of unknown origin. In six patients immunofluorescence was positive: Respiratory Syncitial Virus, 2, Adenovirus, 1 and Influenza A, 3 (including a patient with concomitant MP infection). Thirteen of the 33 children (39.4%) had evidence of a recent influenza A infection with CF ab > or = 1/64: with pneumococcal pneumonia, 5/10 with MP pneumonia, 3/8 with unknown origin pneumonia, 9/13 of these previous influenza infections being clinically inapparent. Only 1/30 children of control group (3.3%) had CF ab > or = 1/64.

Conclusion: In this study, influenza infection is the direct cause of CAP of children in 12% of cases. In other children with CAP, 39.4% of patients had an influenza infection in the preceding weeks which leads to secondary infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae or by MP or other pathogens.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community-Acquired Infections
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Influenza A virus / pathogenicity
  • Influenza B virus / pathogenicity
  • Influenza, Human / complications*
  • Male
  • Pneumonia / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia / etiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors