Movva N, Suh M, Bylsma LC, Fryzek JP, Nelson CB. 2022. Systematic literature review of respiratory syncytial virus laboratory testing practices and incidence in United States infants and children <5 years of age. J Infect Dis 226(Suppl 2):S213–S224.
Background. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can cause serious illness in those aged <5 years in the United States, but uncertainty remains around which populations receive RSV testing. We conducted a systematic literature review of RSV testing patterns in studies published from 2000 to 2021.
Methods. Studies of RSV, medically attended RSV lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs), and bronchiolitis were identified using standard methodology. Outcomes were clinical decisions to test for RSV, testing frequency, and testing incidence proportions in inpatient (IP), emergency department (ED), outpatient (OP), and urgent care settings.
Results. Eighty good-/fair-quality studies, which reported data from the period 1988–2020, were identified. Twenty-seven described the clinical decision to test, which varied across and within settings. Two studies reported RSV testing frequency for multiple settings, with higher testing proportions in IP (n=2, range: 83%–85%, 1996–2009) compared with ED (n=1, 25%,2006–2009) and OP (n=2, 15%–25%, 1996–2009). Higher RSV testing incidence proportions were observed among LRTI infant populations in the ED (n=1, 74%, 2007–2008) and OP (n=2, 54%–69%, 1995–2008). Incidence proportions in LRTI populations were not consistently higher in the IP setting (n=13). Across studies and time, there was heterogeneity in RSV testing patterns, which may reflect varying detection methods, populations, locations, time periods, and healthcare settings.
Conclusions. Not all infants and children with LRTI are tested for RSV, highlighting underestimation of RSV burden across all settings.