Open Access Research article

Prevalence and clinical features of respiratory syncytial virus in children hospitalized for community-acquired pneumonia in northern Brazil

Letícia Martins Lamarão1, Francisco Luzio Ramos2, Wyller Alencar Mello2, Mirleide Cordeiro Santos2, Luana Soares Barbagelata2, Maria Cleonice Aguiar Justino2, Alexandre Ferreira da Silva3, AnaJudithPiresGarcia Quaresma2, Veronilce Borges da Silva2, Rommel Rodríguez Burbano1* and Alexandre Costa Linhares2

Author Affiliations

1 Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Pará, Avenida Augusto Correa 01, 66075-900, Belém, PA, Brazil

2 Instituto Evandro Chagas, Secretaria de Vigilância em Saúde, Ministério da Saúde, Belém, PA, Brazil

3 Hospital Universitário João de Barros Barreto, Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém, PA, Brazil

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:119  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-119

Published: 16 May 2012



Childhood pneumonia and bronchiolitis is a leading cause of illness and death in young children worldwide with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) as the main viral cause. RSV has been associated with annual respiratory disease outbreaks and bacterial co-infection has also been reported. This study is the first RSV epidemiological study in young children hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in Belém city, Pará (Northern Brazil).


With the objective of determining the prevalence of RSV infection and evaluating the patients’ clinical and epidemiological features, we conducted a prospective study across eight hospitals from November 2006 to October 2007. In this study, 1,050 nasopharyngeal aspirate samples were obtained from hospitalized children up to the age of three years with CAP, and tested for RSV antigen by direct immunofluorescence assay and by Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) for RSV Group identification.


RSV infection was detected in 243 (23.1%) children. The mean age of the RSV-positive group was lower than the RSV-negative group (12.1 months vs 15.5 months, p<0.001) whereas gender distribution was similar. The RSV-positive group showed lower means of C-reactive protein (CRP) in comparison to the RSV-negative group (15.3 vs 24.0 mg/dL, p<0.05). Radiological findings showed that 54.2% of RSV-positive group and 50.3% of RSV-negative group had interstitial infiltrate. Bacterial infection was identified predominantly in the RSV-positive group (10% vs 4.5%, p<0.05). Rhinorrhea and nasal obstruction were predominantly observed in the RSV-positive group. A co-circulation of RSV Groups A and B was identified, with a predominance of Group B (209/227). Multivariate analysis revealed that age under 1 year (p<0.015), CRP levels under 48 mg/dL (p<0.001) and bacterial co-infection (p<0.032) were independently associated with the presence of RSV and, in the analyze of symptoms, nasal obstruction were independently associated with RSV-positive group (p<0.001).


The present study highlights the relevance of RSV infection in hospitalized cases of CAP in our region; our findings warrant the conduct of further investigations which can help design strategies for controlling the disease.