Systematic review and meta-analysis of respiratory viral coinfections in children


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Abstract

Respiratory infections are a common cause of paediatric morbidity. Clinical outcomes in children hospitalized with single respiratory virus infection are compared with those with two or more viral–viral coinfection. Studies were restricted to those reporting on children aged less than 5 years (PROSPERO CRD#42014009133). Published data to calculate risk ratios (RR) comparing children with single viral infections to coinfection using a random effects model were used. Similar analyses by pathogen pairs and by excluding children with comorbidities were performed. Of 4443 articles reviewed, 19 were included. Overall, no differences in the risk of fever, admission to an intensive care unit (ICU), oxygen use, mechanical ventilation and abnormal radiographs between children with single infection and those with coinfection were found. When analysing only children without comorbidities, the risk of fever (RR = 1.16 to RR = 1.24, 95% confidence intervals (CI) = 1.00–1.55) and ICU admission (RR = 1.08 to RR = 1.31, 95% CI = 0.93–1.83) increased but remained non-significant. Point estimates suggested an increased risk of ICU admission in those coinfected with either respiratory syncytial virus or human metapneumovirus compared with those with single infection but was non-significant. Our findings suggest that coinfection is not associated with increased clinical severity, but further investigations by pathogen pairs are warranted.

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