Recurrence of WHO-defined fast breathing pneumonia among infants, its occurrence and predictors in Pakistan: A nested case-control analysis

Nick Brown, Arjumand Rizvi, Salima Kerai, Muhammad Imran Nisar, Najeeb Rahman, Benazir Baloch, Fyezah Jehan

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Objectives Studies in low-income and middle-income countries have shown an adverse association between environmental exposures including poverty. There is little literature from South Asia. We aimed to test the associations between housing, indoor air pollution and children's respiratory health and recurrent fast breathing pneumonia in a poor urban setting in Pakistan. Setting Primary health centres in a periurban slum in Karachi, Pakistan. Methods Nested matched case-control study within a non-inferiority randomised controlled trial of fast breathing pneumonia (Randomised Trial of Amoxicillin vs Placebo for Pneumonia (RETAPP)) in periurban slums of Karachi, Pakistan. Cases were children aged 2-60 months enrolled in RETAPP with fast breathing pneumonia who presented again with fast breathing between 8 weeks and 12 months after full recovery. Controls, selected in a 2:1 ratio, were age-matched participants who did not represent. Multivariable conditional logistic regression analysis was undertaken to explore associations with potentially modifiable environmental predictors including housing type, indoor air quality, exposure to tobacco smoke, outdoor pollution, household crowding, water and sanitation quality, nutritional status, immunisation completeness, breast feeding and airways hyperactivity. Results Fast breathing recurred in 151 (3.7%) of children out of the total (4003) enrolled in the trial. Poor-quality housing of either katcha or mixed type strongly predicted recurrence with adjusted matched ORs 2.43 (95% CI 1.02 to 5.80) and 2.44 (1.11 to 5.38), respectively. Poor air quality, cooking fuel, inadequate ventilation, nutritional status, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) index, wheeze at first presentation and group of initial trial assignment were not independently predictive of recurrence. Conclusion Poor-quality housing independently predicted recurrence of fast breathing pneumonia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere035277
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2020


  • epidemiology
  • infection control
  • paediatric A&E and ambulatory care
  • paediatric infectious disease & immunisation
  • public health
  • tropical medicine


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