Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) has been associated with upper and lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) in children and adults. This systematic review evaluated the epidemiology of hMPV-associated LRTI, including severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) hospitalization or clinically diagnosed severe pneumonia, in African children under 5 years of age.
We searched Science Direct, PubMed, Cochrane Central, Scopus, and WHO regional databases using the terms “(“Human metapneumovirus” AND “Africa”) OR (“hMPV” AND “Africa”)” up to September 17, 2020. Other sources included ClinicalTrials.gov to obtain unpublished data. Studies were included if children were less than 5 years of age and hospitalized with hMPV-associated LRTI, SARI or if clinically diagnosed with severe pneumonia in the community. The main outcomes were prevalence of hMPV identified among children with hospitalized LRTI or SARI. We further calculated odds ratios for hMPV in cases with LRTI compared with non-LRTI controls. Pooled results were calculated using a random-effects model.
Thirty studies were eligible for inclusion in the review. The prevalence of hMPV-LRTI/SARI among hospitalized and severe pneumonia cases was 4.7% [95% confidence interval (CI): 3.9–5.6, I2 = 95.0]. The case-control studies indicated that hMPV was 2.0-fold (95% CI: 0.9–4.4) more likely to be identified in LRTI cases (10.3%) than controls (6.0%). Three of 5 studies reported hMPV-associated LRTI case fatality risk, with a pooled estimate of 1.3% (95% CI: 0.3–2.9; I2 = 49).
hMPV was associated with approximately 5% of LRTI/SARI hospitalizations or severe pneumonia cases in Africa.