Acute lower respiratory tract infection in hospitalized children in Zimbabwe

Ann Trop Paediatr. 1993;13(3):253-61. doi: 10.1080/02724936.1993.11747655.


A descriptive study was undertaken to document clinical and socio-demographic features and also to identify risk factors for mortality in children hospitalized with acute lower respiratory tract infection (ALRI). A total of 704 children aged from 1 month to 5 years admitted to Harare Central Hospital were studied. The peak age group was between 1 and 6 months. Seventy per cent of the children were found to have normal nutrition and 12% severe malnutrition. Seventy-eight per cent had severe and the remainder moderate ALRI (WHO classification). Clinical HIV infection was diagnosed in 219 (31%) children. One hundred and four children died, an overall case fatality rate (CFR) of 15%. In the clinically HIV-infected children, a CFR of 28% occurred, which constituted 60% of the overall ALRI mortality. A much lower CFR of 9% was found in the clinically non-HIV-infected children. Malnutrition, severe ALRI, age of 1 to 6 months, concurrent diarrhoea, duration of cough > or = 14 days and previous history of admission for ALRI were significant risk factors for mortality in ALRI. Low birthweight was not found to be a risk factor in this study. The impact of HIV infection on mortality in children with ALRI is of major concern in Zimbabwe and should be an important component of the national ALRI programme.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / epidemiology
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / etiology
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / mortality
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Developing Countries*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Pneumonia / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia / etiology
  • Pneumonia / mortality
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Zimbabwe / epidemiology