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Respiratory viruses in children hospitalized for acute lower respiratory tract infection in Ghana

Theophilus B Kwofie1*, Yaw A Anane1, Bernard Nkrumah2, Augustina Annan2, Samuel B Nguah3 and Michael Owusu2

Author Affiliations

1 School Of Medical, Sciences, Kumasi, Department of Clinical Microbiology Kwame, Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana

2 Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine, Kumasi, Ghana

3 Department of Child Health, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi, Ghana

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Virology Journal 2012, 9:78  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-9-78

Published: 10 April 2012



Acute respiratory tract infections are one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality among young children in developing countries. Information on the viral aetiology of acute respiratory infections in developing countries is very limited. The study was done to identify viruses associated with acute lower respiratory tract infection among children less than 5 years.


Nasopharyngeal samples and blood cultures were collected from children less than 5 years who have been hospitalized for acute lower respiratory tract infection. Viruses and bacteria were identified using Reverse Transcriptase Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction and conventional biochemical techniques.


Out of 128 patients recruited, 33(25.88%%, 95%CI: 18.5% to 34.2%) were positive for one or more viruses. Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) was detected in 18(14.1%, 95%CI: 8.5% to 21.3%) patients followed by Adenoviruses (AdV) in 13(10.2%, 95%CI: 5.5% to 16.7%), Parainfluenza (PIV type: 1, 2, 3) in 4(3.1%, 95%CI: 0.9% to 7.8%) and influenza B viruses in 1(0.8%, 95%CI: 0.0 to 4.3). Concomitant viral and bacterial co-infection occurred in two patients. There were no detectable significant differences in the clinical signs, symptoms and severity for the various pathogens isolated. A total of 61.1% (22/36) of positive viruses were detected during the rainy season and Respiratory Syncytial Virus was the most predominant.


The study has demonstrated an important burden of respiratory viruses as major causes of childhood acute respiratory infection in a tertiary health institution in Ghana. The data addresses a need for more studies on viral associated respiratory tract infection.

Respiratory Viruses; Hospitalized children; Real-Time PCR