Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and parainfluenza virus (PIV) are frequent causes of pneumonia and death among children at Sibu and Kapit Hospitals in Sarawak, Malaysia. Objectives To determine the prevalence and risk factors for RSV subtypes A and B and PIV types 1±4 among patients hospitalized with pneumonia. Methods: In a cross-sectional, pilot study nasopharyngeal swabs were studied with real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assays. Concurrently, we helped Sibu and Kapit Hospitals adapt their first molecular diagnostics for RSV and PIV. Results: Of 129 specimens collected (June to July 2017), 39 tested positive for RSV-A (30.2%), two were positive for RSV B (1.6%), one was positive for PIV-3 (0.8%) and one was positive for PIV-4 (0.8%). No samples were positive for PIV-1 or PIV-2. Of the 39 RSV-A positive specimens, 46.2% were collected from children under one year of age and only 5.1% were from patients over the age of 18. A multivariable analysis found the odds of children <1 year of age testing positive for RSV-A were 32.7 (95% CI: 3.9, 276.2) times larger than >18 years of age, and the odds of patients hospitalized at Kapit Hospital testing positive for RSV-A were 3.2 (95% CI: 1.3, 7.8) times larger than patients hospitalized at Sibu Hospital. Conclusion: This study found an unusually high prevalence of RSV-A among pneumonia patients admitted to the two hospitals. Subsequently, Sibu Hospital adapted the molecular assays with the goal of providing more directed care for such pneumonia patients.
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