Epidemiology and Infection

Risk factors for pneumonia in infants and young children and the role of solid fuel for cooking: a case-control study

D.  MAHALANABIS  a1 c1, S.  GUPTA  a1, D.  PAUL  a2, A.  GUPTA  a2, M.  LAHIRI  a2 and M. A.  KHALED  a3
a1 Society for Applied Studies, Calcutta, India
a2 B. C. Roy Memorial Hospital for Children, Calcutta, India
a3 University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA


We evaluated the risk factors for childhood pneumonia with particular reference to indoor air-pollution associated with solid fuel use for cooking (e.g. coal, wood, dung), using a case-control study in a children's hospital in Calcutta. Cases were 127 children aged 2–35 months of either sex admitted with pneumonia and controls were 135 children attending their immunization clinic. Solid fuel use (odds ratio = 3.97, CI = 2.00–7.88), history of asthma in the child (OR = 5.49, CI = 2.37–12.74), poor economic status indicator (OR = 4.95, CI = 2.38 to 10.28), keeping large animals (OR = 6.03, CI = 1.13–32.27) were associated with high risk of pneumonia after adjusting for confounding (logistic regression analysis). Nearly 80% of people in India use such smoke producing fuel and the population attributable risk would be very high. This finding has important health policy implications. Furthermore, history of asthma is a useful prognostic indicator for early action for prevention of severe pneumonia.

(Accepted January 3 2002)

c1 Author for correspondence: Society for Applied Studies, 108, Manicktala Main Road, Flat-3/21, Calcutta-700054, India.