In children RSV has higher burden of illness than influenza

January 01, 0001

In children RSV has higher burden of illness than influenza

The US authors measured the burden of illness of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections in young children in terms of emergency department (ED) visits and overall resource use. Children treated in the ED of a tertiary care pediatric hospital for an acute respiratory infection were enrolled during the winters of 2003 and 2005. The health care resource use for children with influenza or RSV infections was quantified and results were extrapolated to estimate the national resource use.

They found: “Nationally, an estimated 10.2 ED visits per 1000 children were attributable to influenza and 21.5 visits per 1000 to RSV. Children who were aged 0 to 23 months and infected with RSV had the highest rate of ED visits with 64.4 visits per 1000 children. Significantly more children required hospitalization as a result of an RSV infection compared with influenza, with national hospitalization rates of 8.5 and 1.4 per 1000 children, respectively. The total number of workdays missed yearly by caregivers of children who required ED care was 246,965 days for influenza infections and 716,404 days for RSV infections.”

The authors concluded: “For young children, RSV is associated with higher rates of ED visits, hospitalization, and caregiver resource use than is influenza. Our results provide data on the large number of children who receive outpatient care for influenza and RSV illnesses and serve to inform analyses of prevention programs and treatments for both influenza and RSV disease.”

In this time where influenza is very much in the health care spotlight, this data is an important reminder of the importance of other respiratory viruses in children’s health.

For the full abstract, click here.

Pediatrics 124(6): e1072-e1080, December 2009. © 2010 to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Relative Impact of Influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Young Children. Florence T. Bourgeois, Clarissa Valim, Alexander J. McAdam, and Kenneth D. Mandl.

Category: R. Respiratory. Keywords: burden of illness, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, emergency health services, children, epidemiologic study
Synopsis edited by Dr Paul Schaefer, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 21 January 2010

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.