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Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1994 Feb;13(2):122-8.

Importance of enteric bacteria as a cause of pneumonia, meningitis and septicemia among children in a rural community in The Gambia, West Africa.

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Medical Research Council Laboratories, Banjul, The Gambia.


Two thousand eight hundred ninety-eight children younger than 5 years old were investigated during a 2-year period in a rural area of The Gambia for possible pneumonia, meningitis or septicemia. After clinical examination and appropriate investigations, 1014 children were diagnosed as having pneumonia, 31 as having meningitis and 100 as having septicemia. Nine hundred seven children had a final diagnosis of malaria including 702 who satisfied the World Health Organization criteria for a diagnosis of pneumonia. A bacterial etiology was established in 115 (11%) patients with a final diagnosis of pneumonia, in 25 (81%) with meningitis and in 29 (29%) with suspected septicemia. Overall the pneumococcus was the leading pathogen identified among children with pneumonia and meningitis and ranked third among those with septicemia. However, during the wet season, when malaria transmission was highest, 50% of blood culture isolates obtained from children satisfying the World Health Organization criteria for a diagnosis of pneumonia were Salmonella or coliform species, and the pneumococcus and Haemophilus influenzae type b accounted for only 43% of isolates. Thus enteric bacteria may be as important as those bacteria more usually associated with respiratory disease among children presenting with a clinical picture of pneumonia during the wet season. This finding has important implications for case management and surveillance for antibiotic resistance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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