June 24, 2019
2 min read

RSV burden extends beyond 5 years after acute infection

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Infant respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, was associated with a significant health care burden that lasted for at least 5 years following acute infection, with the greatest effect seen in the first 2 years, according to research published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

“Given that the greatest impact occurs in the first 2 years of life and mostly as a direct measure of the infection-related medical costs, such [health care resource utilization] data are important to be collected during planned and ongoing prevention studies,” Eric Simões, MB, BS, DCH, MD, and colleagues wrote. “If collected systematically, this will better inform cost-effectiveness evaluations of RSV interventions.”

This study adds to growing evidence demonstrating the impact of RSV. Recent estimates showed that the average annual rate of ED visits for RSV infection among children aged younger than 2 years was 59.6 (95% CI, 50.9-68.3) per 1,000 children, and the rate of pediatric practice visits for RSV was 205.7 (95% CI, 169.5-241.9) per 1,000 children — a higher burden than previously thought. Additionally, research published in Clinical Pediatrics found that the stress that affects many caregivers of children hospitalized with RSV lasted for 1 month after their child was discharged. Caregivers also suffered a loss in work productivity, researchers said.

For their study, Simões and colleagues analyzed the health care utilization — including hospitalizations, ER and physician visits — of commercially insured infants with an RSV-related episode in their first year of life (n = 38,473) over the subsequent 5 years compared with propensity-score matched controls (n = 76,825). They based their analysis on data from the Truven MarketScan database from 2004 through 2015.

Over a 5-year period, RSV cohorts had higher average all-cause cumulative hospitalization rates per 100 patient-years compared with controls, according to the study. The rate for these RSV cohorts was 79.9 (95% CI, 41.7-118.2) for early premature infants, 18.2 (95% CI, 0.8-35.7) for premature infants, 34.2 (95% CI, 29.1-39.2) for late premature infants and 16.1 (95% CI, 14.9-17.4) for full-term infants with RSV. Infants with RSV also had higher rates of cumulative ER and physician visits.

Asthma/wheezing accounted for 10% to 18% of the total 5-year health care resource utilization, Simões and colleagues reported.

The researchers said the findings are important, particularly in light of recent advances in RSV vaccine development. – by Joe Gramigna


Lively JY, et al. J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2019;doi:10.1093/jpids/piz011.

Novavax. Novavax announces topline results from phase 3 Prepare Trial of ResVax for prevention of RSV disease in infants via maternal immunization. https://ir.novavax.com/news-releases/news-release-details/novavax-announces-topline-results-phase-3-preparetm-trial. Accessed June 18, 2019.

Pokrywinski RM, et al. Clin Pediatr. 2019;doi:10.1177/0009922819843639.

Simões E, et al. J Infect Dis. 2019;doi:10.1093/infdis/jiz278.

Disclosures: Simões reports grants and personal fees from Abbvie Inc. and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. He also reports grants from Medimmune Inc, Prifzer and Novavax. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.