Journal of Biomedical Sciences

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Respiratory Pathogens in Pediatric Patients in Saudi Arabia: Seasonal Variation and Epidemiological Distribution

Saleh Al Harbi*, Sumayyah Ahmed Nezar Kobeisy, Omer Mohammed Akbar Hossain, Khalid Mohammed Abadullah Faruqi, Bayan Yassin Sayed, Ibrahim Hussain Ali Muzaffar, Shahd Sameer Majdali and Hisham Abudulmalik Essa



Acute respiratory tract infections remain one of the most common causes for pediatric visits to primary care providers, emergency departments and for pediatric hospitalizations1-3. Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction (mPCR) testing allows for rapid detection of pathogens in as little as six hours and some kits can test as many as 20 pathogens at a time5-6.


The aim of this study is to explore the incidence, seasonal distribution, relationship with C-reactive protein (CRP) and epidemiological association of various respiratory pathogens among the pediatric age group.


A retrospective study was conducted at Dr. Soliman Fakeeh Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to analyze the results of the Respiratory Film Array Panel taken via nasopharyngeal swabs from December 2018 to December 2019 in the pediatric age group. Data was collected and analyzed using IBM SPSS Version 20.


534 patient’s files were reviewed for multiplex PCR nasopharyngeal samples. Age group and pathogen coinfection or monoinfection was statistically significant (x28,N=534=21.304, p= 0.006). There was a statistical significance between age group and enterovirus (F (2.792, 115.875) =3.186, p=0.013), respiratory syncytial virus (F (1.939, 35.065) =7.312, p=<0.0001), rhinovirus (F (2.792, 115.875) =3.186, p=0.013) and influenza B (F (0.831, 23.903) =4.600, p=0.001).


Studies in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East in general are limited regarding the various pathogens that cause acute respiratory tract infection in the pediatric age group. This is a ground break study that sheds light on the seasonal variation, age presentation, association of CRP with various pathogens and incidence of not only viral but bacterial organisms as well by the use of mPCR.