Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Viral upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) predisposes to bacterial pneumonia possibly by facilitating growth of bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumoniae colonising the nasopharynx. We investigated whether viral URTI is temporally associated with an increase in nasopharyngeal pneumococcal concentration. Episodes of symptomatic RSV or rhinovirus URTI among children <5 years were identified from a longitudinal household study in rural Kenya. lytA and alu PCR were performed on nasopharyngeal samples collected twice-weekly, to measure the pneumococcal concentration adjusted for the concentration of human DNA present. Pneumococcal concentration increased with a fold-change of 3.80 (95%CI 1.95-7.40), with acquisition of RSV or rhinovirus, during 51 URTI episodes among 42 children. In repeated swabs from the baseline period, in the two weeks before URTI developed, within-episode variation was broad; within +/-112-fold range of the geometric mean. We observed only a small increase in nasopharyngeal pneumococcal concentration during RSV or rhinovirus URTI, relative to natural variation. Other factors, such as host response to viral infection, may be more important than nasopharyngeal pneumococcal concentration in determining risk of invasive disease.

Original publication




Journal article


Sci Rep

Publication Date