Clinical and epidemiological features of HIV-1 seropositive hospitalized Ethiopian children.

H. Beyene, W. Moss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Eleven children were identified as being seropositive for HIV-1 at the Ethio-Swedish Children's Hospital, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia between January 1988 and September 1989. The diagnosis was confirmed by both ELISA and Western blot methods performed at the National Research Institute of Health, Special Laboratory for AIDS. The mean age was 2 years and 5 months, with a range of 1 week to 10 years. There were 7 boys and 4 girls. The most common admitting diagnoses were pneumonia (5), gastroenteritis (5), marasmus (5), disseminated tuberculosis (4), and abandonment (3). One patient had extensive facial molluscum contagiosum. Symptoms at admission or during hospitalization included diarrhoea (9), failure to thrive (8), fever (7), and cough (7). Physical findings included hepatosplenomegaly (5), lymphadenopathy (3), and oral candidiasis (2). No patient with an opportunistic infection or radiographic evidence of lymphocytic interstitial pneumonitis (LIP) was identified. Five patients were classified as marasmic and 4 as underweight. Evidence suggestive of encephalopathy (developmental delay and/or microcephaly) was present in 5 patients. The VDRL was non-reactive in the 5 patients in whom it was tested. Nine children were presumed to have acquired the infection by perinatal transmission, though the passive transfer of maternal antibodies or postnatally acquired infection could not be excluded. One child was thought to have acquired the infection by blood transfusion. Three children died during their hospital stay. Paediatric HIV infection exists in Ethiopia; however, these children do not present with characteristic opportunistic infections but with signs and symptoms reflecting the most common paediatric problems seen in the country. Prevention of HIV infection in children entails the prevention of infection in women of childbearing age, counselling of infected women, and effective screening of blood products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-61
Number of pages5
JournalEthiopian medical journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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