A prospective observational study of community acquired pneumonia in Kenya: the role of viral pathogens

Jamila Nambafu, Mary Achakolong, Fridah Mwendwa, Jumaa Bwika, Felix Riunga, Samuel Gitau, Hanika Patel, Rodney D. Adam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Lower respiratory tract infections continue to contribute significantly to morbidity and mortality across all age groups globally. In sub-Saharan Africa, many studies of community acquired pneumonia in adults have focused on HIV-infected patients and little attention has been given to risk factors and etiologic agents in an urban area with a more moderate HIV prevalence. Methods: We prospectively enrolled 77 patients admitted to a 280 bed teaching hospital in Kenya with radiographically confirmed community acquired pneumonia from May 2019 to March 2020. The patients were followed for etiology and clinical outcomes. Viral PCR testing was performed using the FTD respiratory pathogen-21 multiplex kit on nasopharyngeal or lower respiratory samples. Additional microbiologic workup was performed as determined by the treating physicians. Results: A potential etiologic agent(s) was identified in 57% including 43% viral, 5% combined viral and bacterial, 5% bacterial and 4% Pneumocystis. The most common etiologic agent was Influenza A which was associated with severe clinical disease. The most common underlying conditions were cardiovascular disease, diabetes and lung disease, while HIV infection was identified in only 13% of patients. Critical care admission was required for 24, and 31% had acute kidney injury, sometimes in combination with acute respiratory distress or sepsis. Conclusion: Viruses, especially influenza, were commonly found in patients with CAP. In contrast to other studies from sub-Saharan Africa, the underlying conditions were similar to those reported in high resource areas and point to the growing concern of the double burden of infectious and noncommunicable diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number703
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Community acquired pneumonia
  • Diabetes
  • HIV
  • Influenza
  • Kenya
  • Pneumocystis jirovecii
  • Pneumonia
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Tuberculosis
  • Viral pneumonia


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