Epidemiology of respiratory syncytial virus infection in rural and urban Kenya

Godfrey M. Bigogo, Robert F. Breiman, Daniel R. Feikin, Allan O. Audi, Barrack Aura, Leonard Cosmas, M. Kariuki Njenga, Barry S. Fields, Victor Omballa, Henry Njuguna, Peter M. Ochieng, Daniel O. Mogeni, George O. Aol, Beatrice Olack, Mark A. Katz, Joel M. Montgomery, Deron C. Burton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Information on the epidemiology of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection in Africa is limited for crowded urban areas and for rural areas where the prevalence of malaria is high. Methods. At referral facilities in rural western Kenya and a Nairobi slum, we collected nasopharyngeal/oropharyngeal (NP/OP) swab specimens from patients with influenza-like illness (ILI) or severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) and from asymptomatic controls. Polymerase chain reaction assays were used for detection of viral pathogens. We calculated age-specific ratios of the odds of RSV detection among patients versus the odds among controls. Incidence was expressed as the number of episodes per 1000 person-years of observation. Results. ;Between March 2007 and February 2011, RSV was detected in 501 of 4012 NP/OP swab specimens (12.5%) frorn children and adults in the rural site and in 321 of 2744 NP/OP swab specimens (11.7%) from those in the urban site. Among children aged <5 years, RSV was detected more commonly among rural children with SARI (odds ratio [OR], 2.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2-3.3), urban children with SARI (OR, 8.5; 95% CI, 3.1-23.6), and urban children with ILI (OR, 3.4; 95% CI, 1.2-9.6), compared with controls. The incidence of RSV disease was highest among infants with SARI aged <1 year (86.9 and 62.8 episodes per 1000 person-years of observation in rural and urban sites, respectively). Conclusions. An effective RSV vaccine would likely substantially reduce the burden of respiratory illness among children in rural and urban areas in Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S207-S216
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue numberSUPPL. 3
StatePublished - Dec 12 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Epidemiology
  • Incidence
  • Kenya
  • Respiratory syncytial virus
  • Rural
  • Urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases


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