Clinical Characteristics and Etiology of Community-acquired Pneumonia in US Children, 2015–2018

on behalf of the Children’s Hospitals Initiative for Research in Pneumonia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Pneumonia has a major impact on childhood health and health care costs. This study was designed to obtain contemporary information on the clinical characteristics and etiology of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in children from both inpatient and outpatient settings in the USA. Methods: We conducted a prospective, multicenter, observational study of CAP among previously healthy children 2 months to 18 years of age in 6 children’s hospitals in Ohio from 2015 to 2018. For pathogen detection, nasopharyngeal swabs were collected from all subjects. Blood and pleural fluid cultures were available per standard of care. Results: We enrolled a convenience sample of 441 patients: 380 hospitalized and 61 outpatients. Tachypnea and radiologic findings of consolidation and pleural effusion were more frequent among inpatients than outpatients. A pathogen was detected in 64.6% of patients: viruses in 55.6%, atypical bacteria in 8.8% and pyogenic bacteria in 4.3%. Eighteen (4.1%) patients had both viruses and bacteria detected. Rhinovirus/enterovirus (RV; 18.6%) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV; 16.8%) were the viruses most frequently detected, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae (8.2%) and Streptococcus pneumoniae (2.3%) were the most common bacteria. Except for S. pneumoniae, which was identified more frequently in inpatients, there were no significant differences between inpatients and outpatients in the proportions of children with specific pathogens detected. Conclusions: Rhinovirus/enterovirus and RSV among viruses and M. pneumoniae and S. pneumoniae among bacteria were the most common pathogens detected in children with CAP. Tachypnea and chest radiographs with consolidation and/or pleural effusion were associated with hospitalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-387
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2022


  • Children
  • Etiology
  • Inpatients
  • Outpatients
  • Pneumonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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