Community-acquired pneumonia requiring hospitalization among U.S. children.
BACKGROUND Respiratory diseases cause substantial morbidity and mortality worldwide, with sub-Saharan Africa bearing the greatest burden. Identifying etiologies of respiratory disease is important to inform cost effective treatment, prevention and control strategies. Testing for all of the different pathogens that are potentially associated with respiratory illnesses is challenging. We piloted the use of a multi-pathogen respiratory Taqman Array Cards (TAC) to identify pathogens in respiratory samples collected from non-fatal and fatal cases and their matched asymptomatic controls. METHODS This is a case control study comparing viral and bacterial pathogens detected among non-fatal and fatal cases to those detected among age and time matched asymptomatic controls. We used McNemar's test to compare proportions of pathogens detected among cases (non-fatal and fatal) to their matched asymptomatic controls. We used Mann-Whitney test to compare the distribution of median Cycle threshold (Ct) values among non-fatal and fatal cases to their corresponding asymptomatic controls. RESULTS There were 72 fatal and 72 non-fatal cases matched to 72 controls. We identified at least one pathogen in 109/144 (76%) cases and 59/72 (82%) controls. For most pathogens, the median Ct values were lower among cases (fatal and non-fatal) compared to asymptomatic controls. CONCLUSIONS Similar rates of pathogen detection among cases and controls make interpretation of results challenging. Ct-values might be helpful in interpreting clinical relevance of detected pathogens using multi-pathogen diagnostic tools.