Plasma zinc levels in normal and malnourished children with lower respiratory tract infection from 2 months to 5 years of age

Dinesk Kumar E., Thumjaa Annamalai, Shafath Ahmed M., Sundari S.


Background: Acute Lower Respiratory Tract Infection (ALRI) is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in the developing world. Pneumonia is a severe form of ALRI that cause over 2 million deaths annually among children younger than 5 years of age. About 19% of all deaths, pneumonia is the leading cause of child mortality. Malnutrition is known to be associated with greater intensity of lower respiratory tract infections, higher the frequency of complications, longer episodes of infections. This study is to assess the plasma zinc levels in normal and malnourished children with LRI aged 2 months to 5 years.

Methods: This is a case control study, which was carried out in the Department of Paediatrics, Sree Balaji Medical College and Hospital, the study period is one year from July 2016 to July 2017. 100 children between 2 months to 5 years of age with LRI was included in the study and children less than 2 months and more than 5 years. 50 Children with normal nutrition were taken as controls and 50 children with moderate and severe malnutrition were taken as cases. Age and sex were matched among cases and controls. Blood samples were collected for zinc estimation in both the cases and controls. All children were investigated and treated as per the department protocol for the particular condition. All statistical procedures were performed using SPSS v 21.0.

Results: In present study, 66% of children had normal zinc levels, 34% of children had low zinc levels. The mean zinc level in our cases was 54.84±18.31 and in controls was 76.84±15.2, which was statistically significant (p = 0.000). Mean plasma zinc levels with respect to age and sex were not significant.

Conclusions: Total 34% of children with LRI had low plasma zinc levels. Plasma zinc level were significantly low in malnourished children than normally nourished children with LRI, which is one of the most important cause of high childhood mortality in developing countries.


Lower respiratory tract infection, Malnutrition, Plasma zinc level

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