Pneumocystis carinii in children with severe pneumonia at Mulago Hospital, Uganda

Ann Trop Paediatr. 2004 Sep;24(3):227-35. doi: 10.1179/027249304225019046.


The prevalence of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), its clinical and radiological features and the outcome in 121 children aged 2-60 months presenting with severe pneumonia over a 2-month period at Mulago Hospital, Kampala are described. Children presenting with severe pneumonia had sputum induction using 3% hypertonic saline. The sputum was stained using PCP monoclonal antibodies and viewed with fluorescent microscopy. Twenty children with confirmed PCP were compared with 101 without PCP. The prevalence of PCP was 16.5%, and 12 (60%) were < 6 months of age. Eighteen (42%) of 43 children infected with HIV had PCP and two of 78 not infected with HIV. The outcome in children with PCP was poor with a case fatality rate of 40% compared with 20% in those without HIV. Radiological findings were non-specific. Clinical features associated with PCP included: HIV-positive infants with a small head circumference, AIDS, a clear chest on auscultation and elevated LDH levels. PCP occurs in one in six children < 5 years with severe pneumonia in Mulago Hospital. In developing countries where investigations for PCP are not routinely available, infants suspected of PCP should be treated as an emergency.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / epidemiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status
  • Pneumocystis carinii*
  • Pneumonia, Pneumocystis / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Pneumocystis / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Uganda / epidemiology