Publications : 2020

Rankin DA, Haddadin Z, Lipworth L, Fryzek J, Suh M, Shepard DS, McHenry R, Varjabedian R, Fernandez KN, Rizzo C, Nelson CB, Halasa NB. Comparison of clinical presentations and burden of respiratory syncytial virus in infants across three distinct healthcare settings. IDWeek virtual conference on infectious disease, October 2020.


Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) accounts for the majority of lower respiratory tract illnesses in hospitalized infants. In the U.S., RSV hospitalizations are well characterized; yet, emergency department (ED) and outpatient (OP) visits are underrecognized. We evaluated the burden of RSV across three distinct healthcare settings during one respiratory season.

Results: A total of 627 infants were screened, of whom 473 (75%) were confirmed eligible, 364 (77%) enrolled, 361 (99%) were tested for RSV of which 101 (28%) were RSV+ (IP=37, ED=18, OP=46) (Figure 1). Compared to RSV-negative subjects, RSV+ subjects were younger (6.6 vs. 4.9 months, p<0.001), 56% were male and 48% white. By setting, infants in the OP setting were older than those seen in the IP and ED [(p=0.002), Figure 2]. Compared to infants in the OP setting, hospitalized infants were more likely to present with SOB and rhonchi/rales, but less likely to have only upper respiratory symptoms (Figure 3) and be African American (p=0.046). Infants in the IP setting had a higher proportion of clinical RSV diagnostic testing (73%) compared to the ED (39%) and OP (28%) settings (p<0.001).

Conclusions: Two-thirds of RSV+ infants sought care from either an OP or ED setting, with nearly all hospitalized infants presenting with both upper and lower respiratory symptoms. The underutilization of diagnostic testing in the OP settings may underestimate the true burden of RSV. Future studies are essential to document the true prevalence of RSV in order to assess the need and impact of new interventions (e.g., immunizations, antivirals).