Viruses are responsible for a large proportion of acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs). Human influenza, parainfluenza, respiratory-syncytial-virus, and adenoviruses are among the leading cause of ARTIs. Epidemiological evidence of those respiratory viruses is limited in the East Africa Community (EAC) region. This review sought to identify the prevalence of respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza, and adenoviruses among cases of ARTI in the EAC from 2007 to 2020.
A literature search was conducted in Medline, Global Index Medicus, and the grey literature from public health institutions and programs in the EAC. Two independent reviewers performed data extraction. We used a random effects model to pool the prevalence estimate across studies. We assessed heterogeneity with the I2 statistic, and Cochran’s Q test, and further we did subgroup analysis. This review was registered with PROSPERO under registration number CRD42018110186.
A total of 12 studies met the eligibility criteria for the studies documented from 2007 to 2020. The overall pooled prevalence of adenoviruses was 13% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 6-21, N = 28829), respiratory syncytial virus 11% (95% CI: 7-15, N = 22627), and parainfluenza was 9% (95% CI: 7-11, N = 28363). Pooled prevalence of reported ARTIs, all ages, and locality varied in the included studies. Studies among participants with severe acute respiratory disease had a higher pooled prevalence of all the three viruses. Considerable heterogeneity was noted overall and in subgroup analysis.
Our findings indicate that human adenoviruses, respiratory syncytial virus and parainfluenza virus are prevalent in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. These three respiratory viruses contribute substantially to ARTIs in the EAC, particularly among those with severe disease and those aged five and above.