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J Pediatr. 2012 Nov;161(5):814-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.05.001. Epub 2012 Jun 12.

Unrecognized viral respiratory tract infections in premature infants during their birth hospitalization: a prospective surveillance study in two neonatal intensive care units.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital, Syracuse, NY, USA.



To determine the frequency and effects of nosocomial respiratory viral infections (RVIs) in premature neonates, including those who may be asymptomatic.


We performed a year-long surveillance for RVIs in infants <33 weeks gestational age admitted to 2 Syracuse neonatal intensive care units. Infants were enrolled within 3 days of neonatal intensive care unit admission and were sampled for RVIs until discharge using a multiplex polymerase chain reaction assay capable of detecting 17 different respiratory viruses or subtypes.


Twenty-six of 50 prematurely born infants (52%) tested positive for a respiratory virus at least once during their birth hospitalization. Testing positive for a respiratory virus was significantly associated with longer length of stay (70 days vs 35 days, P = .002) and prolonged ventilatory support (51 vs 13 days, P = .002). Infants who tested positive for a respiratory virus during their birth hospitalization had more than twice the rate of developing bronchopulmonary dysplasia (P < .05).


Nosocomial RVIs were frequent in our study population, despite the absence of clinical indicators of illness. Length of hospital stay was significantly longer and a diagnosis of bronchopulmonary dysplasia was more common in infants who had respiratory viruses detected.

Copyright © 2012 Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

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