Respiratory Infection and Iatrogenic Diarrhea in Honduras and El Salvador during the 1991–1992 Season

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  • Division of Clinical Virology, Department of Immunology, Microbiology, Pathology, and Infectious Diseases, Huddinge University Hospital, Karolinska Institutet, Department of Microbiology, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras, Department of Microbiology, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de El Salvador, Stockholm, Sweden

The etiology of acute respiratory tract infection and its association with diarrhea was analyzed in 135 hospitalized children less than three years of age with mainly respiratory symptoms in two pediatric hospitals in Honduras and El Salvador. Etiologic diagnoses were performed on nasopharyngeal samples by tissue culture and immunofluorescence, including a search for the presence of respiratory virus-specific immunoglobulin A antibodies. Fecal samples were subjected to electron microscopy and tissue culture. The majority (83%) of the children (65% boys and 35% girls) were less than 12 months old and 45% were less than four months old. In 63 (47%) patients, at least one viral infection of the respiratory tract was identified. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or the respective IgA antibodies were found in 43 (32%) patients, influenza A and B viruses in 29 (21%) patients, adenovirus in four patients, and enterovirus in two patients. Twenty (15%) patients had two or more viral agents. An association between RSV cases and environmental temperature was established. In 124 fecal samples, we identified four cases with astrovirus, seven with nonpolio enterovirus, and eight with adenovirus, but only three cases with rotavirus. Diarrhea was present in 55 (45%) of the patients. There was a statistically significant association between diarrhea and cases with RSV. This was shown to be associated with antibiotic treatment.