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Epidemiol Infect. 2007 Jan;135(1):159-62. Epub 2006 Jun 6.

Timing of monoclonal antibody for seasonal RSV prophylaxis in the United Kingdom.

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  • 1Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections, London, UK.


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection produces more severe disease and increased hospitalization rates in high-risk babies. The monoclonal antibody palivizumab offers protection against complications, and the first of five monthly doses should be administered before the onset of community RSV activity. However, the required real-time prediction of this onset is problematic. We attempted to identify seasonal RSV patterns by retrospectively examining 10 years of laboratory reports for RSV and clinical episode reports for certain respiratory presentations in both primary and secondary care. Analysis of hospital laboratory reports, incidence of acute bronchitis in primary care, and hospital admissions for acute bronchitis and bronchiolitis in young children revealed a consistent increase in RSV activity during week 43 each year. Promptly commencing prophylaxis during the second week of each October (week 42) would precede the onset of the RSV season in the United Kingdom, and provide coverage until its decline in mid-March.

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