Microbial coinfections and superinfections in critical COVID-19: a Kenyan retrospective cohort analysis

Joe Rakiro, Jasmit Shah, Wangari Waweru-Siika, Ivy Wanyoike, Felix Riunga

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The aim of our study was to outline the burden, risk factors, and outcomes for critical COVID-19 patients with coinfections or superinfections. Methods: This was a retrospective descriptive study of adults who were admitted with critical COVID-19 for ≥ 24 hours. Data collected included demographic profiles and other baseline characteristics, laboratory and radiological investigations, medical interventions, and clinical outcomes. Outcomes of interest included the presence or absence of coinfections or superinfections, and in-hospital mortality. Differences between those with and without coinfections or superinfections were compared for statistical significance. Results: In total, 321 patient records were reviewed. Baseline characteristics included a median age (IQR) of 61.4 (51.4–72.9) years, and a predominance of male (71.3%) and African/black (66.4%) patients. Death occurred in 132 (44.1%) patients, with a significant difference noted between those with added infections (58.2%) and those with none (36.6%) (p = 0.002, odds ratio (OR) = 2.41). One patient was coinfected with pulmonary tuberculosis. Approximately two-thirds of patients received broad-spectrum antimicrobial therapy. Conclusion: Added infections in critically ill COVID-19 patients were relatively uncommon but, where present, were associated with higher mortality. Empiric use of broad-spectrum antimicrobials was common, and may have led to the selection of multidrug-resistant organisms. More robust local data on antimicrobial susceptibility patterns may help in appropriate antibiotic selection, in order to improve outcomes without driving up rates of drug-resistant pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-46
Number of pages6
JournalIJID Regions
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Kenya
  • antibiotic
  • coinfection
  • critical COVID-19
  • superinfection


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