Influenza-like illness is associated with high pneumococcal carriage density in Malawian children

Tinashe K. Nyazika, Alice Law, Todd D. Swarthout, Lusako Sibale, Danielle ter Braake, Neil French, Robert S. Heyderman, Dean Everett, Aras Kadioglu, Kondwani C. Jambo, Daniel R. Neill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: High pneumococcal carriage density is a risk factor for invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) and transmission, but factors that increase pneumococcal carriage density are still unclear. Methods: We undertook a cross-sectional study to evaluate the microbial composition, cytokine levels and pneumococcal carriage densities in samples from children presenting with an influenza-like illness (ILI) and asymptomatic healthy controls (HC). Results: The proportion of children harbouring viral organisms (Relative risk (RR) 1.4, p = 0.0222) or ≥ 4 microbes at a time (RR 1.9, p < 0.0001), was higher in ILI patients than HC. ILI patients had higher IL-8 levels in nasal aspirates than HC (median [IQR], 265.7 [0 – 452.3] vs. 0 [0 – 127.3] pg/ml; p = 0.0154). Having an ILI was associated with higher pneumococcal carriage densities compared to HC (RR 4.2, p < 0.0001). Conclusion: These findings suggest that children with an ILI have an increased propensity for high pneumococcal carriage density. This could in part contribute to increased susceptibility to IPD and transmission in the community.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)549-556
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Infection
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Carriage density
  • Children
  • IL-8
  • Influenza-like illness
  • Pneumococcal


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