Recent data suggest that hospitalization rates in adults
aged at least 50 years residing in Tennessee were similar for respiratory
syncytial virus, human metapneumovirus and influenza virus.
Defining rates of illness due to respiratory
syncytial virus (RSV) and human metapneumovirus (HMPV) may support vaccine
development for the prevention of the disease and drug development for
treatment of RSV and HMPV infection, researchers from Vanderbilt
University Medical Center wrote.
The prospective study was conducted during three
consecutive winter seasons. Patients aged at least 50 years who were admitted
to one of four hospitals with acute respiratory illness were included.
Nasal/throat swabs were tested for influenza, RSV and HMPV using
reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction.
There were 1,042 eligible patients, of whom 508
consented to testing. RSV was detected in 31 patients, HMPV in 23 patients and
influenza was detected in 33 patients. Among patients aged 65 years and older,
78% received influenza vaccination.
Patients with RSV were older and more likely to be
immunocompromised than patients with influenza. Patients with HMPV were older,
had more cardiovascular disease, were more likely to have received the
influenza vaccine and were less likely to report fever compared with patients
Annual rates of hospitalization during the 3 years were
15.01 per 10,000 residents for RSV, 9.82 per 10,000 residents for HMPV and
11.81 per 10,000 residents for influenza.
RSV and HMPV both cause a significant number of
hospitalizations in adults aged 50 years and older, especially among those aged
65 years and older, the researchers wrote. Antiviral therapy and
vaccines for the prevention and treatment of RSV and HMPV should be pursued to
reduce the impact of these important viral agents in older adults.
Widmer K. J Infect Dis. 2012;206:56-62.
Two researchers report financial relationships with Quidel and