Current Surge Noted in RSV Infection, Especially in Older Children

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Greater proportion of children hospitalized in 2022 to 2023 were aged 2 to younger than 5 years and aged 5 to younger than 12 years.

HealthDay News — There is a current surge in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections, especially among older children, according to a research letter published online May 15 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Suchitra Rao, MBBS, from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, and colleagues compared the age distribution of children hospitalized with RSV during 2018 to 2019, 2019 to 2020, 2021 to 2022, and 2022 to 2023 (2020 to 2021 was excluded as there was only one hospitalization).

Data were included for 2809 children. The researchers found that 97.5 and 98.8% of hospitalizations during 2021 to 2022 and 2022 to 2023, respectively, were directly related to RSV infection. Over these periods, age distributions differed significantly, with a median age of 11.0 vs 18.5 months prior to 2022 to 2023 vs the first 6 weeks of the 2022 to 2023 period. A greater proportion of children hospitalized with RSV in 2022 to 2023 were aged 2 years to younger than 5 years and aged 5 years to younger than 12 years compared with prior periods (34.2 vs 23.4% and 9.7 vs 5.0%, respectively). During 2021 to 2022 and 2022 to 2023, the proportion of hospitalized children with RSV admitted to the intensive care unit was 27.1 and 36.0%, respectively, with a median length of stay of 3.0 and 3.8 days, respectively.

“These findings support the hypothesis that lack of previous exposure to RSV during the COVID-19 pandemic may be associated with the current surge in RSV infections among an older cohort of susceptible children,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

Abstract/Full Text