Background: Viruses are detected in most hospitalized children admitted for acute respiratory infections. Etiologic understanding is needed to improve clinical management and prevention, particularly in resource-limited tropical countries.
Methods: A 3-year prospective descriptive study was conducted among Cambodian children admitted to 2 provincial hospitals for acute lower respiratory tract infection. Molecular detection for 18 viral pathogens using multiplex polymerase chain reaction/reverse transcription polymerase chain reactions was performed.
Results: We enrolled 1006 children less than 5 years of age of whom 423 (42%), 428 (42%) and 155 (16%) had pneumonia, bronchiolitis and unclassified lower respiratory tract infections, respectively. Of the 551 (55%) with documented viral infection, a single virus was detected in 491 (89%), including rhinovirus (n = 169; 34%), respiratory syncytial virus (n = 167; 34%), parainfluenza virus (n = 40; 8%), human metapneumovirus (n = 39; 8%), influenza virus (n = 31; 6%), bocavirus (n = 16; 3%), adenovirus (n = 15; 3%), coronavirus (n = 9; 2%) and enterovirus (n = 5; 1%). Coinfections with multiple viruses were detected in 6% (2 viruses detected in 59 cases; 3 viruses detected in 1 case).
Conclusion: Similar to other tropical countries, rhinovirus and respiratory syncytial virus were the principal viral pathogens detected among children hospitalized for lower tract respiratory infection in Cambodia.