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Respiratory pathogens and acute chest syndrome in children with sickle cell disease


Background Acute chest syndromes (ACS) may be associated with upper respiratory tract infections, but the epidemiology of viral and intracellular respiratory pathogens in children with sickle cell disease (SCD) is not precisely known. The aim of this study was to describe the epidemiology of viral and intracellular respiratory pathogens in children with SCD presenting with fever and/or ACS.

Materials and methods An observational, prospective, single-centre cohort study with nested case–control analysis was conducted on children with SCD admitted from October 2016 to October 2017 for fever and/or ACS to the paediatric department of Robert Debré university hospital, Paris, France. They were screened for 20 respiratory pathogens by a multiplex PCR in the nasopharynx (FilmArray).

Results We included 101 children. M/F sex ratio of 0.45. The median age was 3.2 years (IQR: 1.4–8.2). At least one pathogen was isolated in 67 patients (67%). The most frequent viruses were as follows: rhinovirus (n=33), adenovirus (n=14), respiratory syncytial virus (n=13) and parainfluenza viruses (n=11). Mycoplasma pneumoniae was detected in one case. Twenty-three (23%) presented with or developed ACS. A nested case–control analysis was performed, after pairing ACS with non-ACS children for age and inclusion period. There was no statistical association between any viral detection or multiple viral infection, and ACS (p=0.51) even though parainfluenza viruses were twice as common in ACS.

Conclusions Viral detection in febrile children with SCD is frequent, but its association with ACS was not demonstrated. In this study, M. pneumoniae was rare in young children with SCD experiencing ACS.

  • epidemiology
  • general paediatrics
  • haematology
  • infectious diseases
  • virology

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