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Globally, respiratory illness is one of the most common reasons that children seek care. It is often treated inappropriately with antibiotics, which can drive the development of antibiotic resistance. In resource-rich settings, testing for specific pathogens or measurement of clinical biomarkers, such as procalcitonin and C-reactive protein, is often employed to help determine which children should receive antibiotics. However, there are limited data on the use of these tests in resource-constrained, outpatient contexts in sub-Saharan Africa. We enrolled children with respiratory illness presenting to a clinic in southwestern Uganda and performed testing for influenza, Streptococcus pneumoniae, C-reactive protein, and procalcitonin on-site. Almost all children received antibiotics. We demonstrate that employing clinical algorithms that include influenza and clinical biomarker testing could significantly decrease antibiotic prescriptions. Our study therefore provides preliminary data to support the feasibility and potential utility of diagnostics to improve management of respiratory illness in resource-constrained settings.

To evaluate the preliminary feasibility and potential impact of adding pathogen-specific and clinical biomarker diagnostic testing to existing clinical management algorithms, researchers conducted a prospective, observational cohort study of 225 children presenting with malaria-negative, febrile ARI to the outpatient department of a semi-urban peripheral health facility in southwestern Uganda from October 2019 to January 2020.The study team included CASP Antimicrobial Stewardship Physician Emily Ciccone, MD, MHS. Read more.