Outpatient burden of RSV infection in newborns

Thomas E, Mattila JM, Lehtinen P, Vuorinen T, Waris M, Heikkinen T

RSV is the number one cause of hospitalization for acute lower respiratory tract infection in infants. Moreover, RSV affects an even bigger group of non-hospitalized children. Thomas and his colleagues decided to investigate the burden of RSV infection in this under-recognized patient group. They prospectively followed 408 newborns in Finland during their first RSV season. Throughout this period, one third of the participants was diagnosed with proven RSV infection. Infants with one or more siblings were infected twice as often as those without siblings. In 76.9% of diseased children, RSV infection was complicated by acute otitis media and 70.9% required antibiotics. As expected, a minority of children (6.7%) with RSV infections was hospitalized. This study shows that RSV illness brings upon a great burden in not only hospitalized, but also outpatient newborns. Future preventive and therapeutic measures might be worth exploring for these infants as well.