Measles continues to be a significant health problem in developing countries.
To describe the clinical features of measles-associated pneumonia (MAP) and to identify other pathogens involved.
Measles diagnosis was ascertained either by the typical symptom complex or by a sensitive enzyme immunoassay for antibody among children <5 years of age admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. Other pathogens were identified by blood culture, virus isolation or antigen detection from nasopharyngeal aspirate and antibody determination from serum.
Of 182 MAP cases 162 (89%) had clinically typical measles. Twenty patients had a diagnostic antibody finding with an atypical clinical presentation. Thirteen percent were younger than 9 months of age. The case fatality rate was 17%, with a significantly increased odds ratio (OR) for those with cyanosis [OR 4.6, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.7 to 13], respiratory rate ≥60/min (OR 3, 95% CI 1.3 to 7) or fulfilling criteria for very severe pneumonia (OR 5.3, 95% CI 2.3 to 12). Mixed infection was found in 53% of patients. Blood culture was positive in 10 patients, Streptococcus pneumoniae (N = 5) being the most common finding. Adenovirus (19%) and parainfluenza (25%) viruses were the most frequent other viruses. A dense infiltrate was seen significantly more often among measles patients with bacterial coinfection(87.5%) than those with other viruses (36%, P = 0.007) or no evidence of other infection (33%, P = 0.004).
In MAP, coinfection with other microbes is common. Cyanosis and a respiratory rate of≥60/min predict a greater risk of dying.
From the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Alabang, Philippines (BPQ, SRG, ML, LS, FJP, JM); Department of Virology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland (PH, OM); and National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland (PR).
Accepted for publication Nov. 6, 1997.
Address for reprints: Dr. Beatriz P. Quiambao, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Alabang, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, Philippines. Fax 63-2-8422245.