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J Infect Dis. 1997 Apr;175(4):814-20.

Severity of respiratory syncytial virus infection is related to virus strain.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, New York, USA.


The relationship between respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) strain and disease severity was assessed in 265 hospitalized infants over a 3-year period (1988-1991). A severity index of clinical and physiologic parameters was used to grade illness severity. Multivariate analysis of 134 infants infected with group A RSV strains and 131 infants infected with group B strains indicated that prematurity, underlying medical conditions, group A RSV infection, and age < or =3 months were independently associated with severe disease. Odds ratios for severe disease for these risk factors were 1.83, 2.84, 3.26, and 4.39, respectively. Among infants without underlying medical conditions, group B RSV infection rarely required ventilatory support, in contrast to group A infections (1/90 vs. 13/107; P < .006), and had significantly lower severity indices (mean +/- SD, 0.6 +/- 9 vs. 1.3 +/- 1.9; P = .05). Results confirm earlier findings that group A RSV infection results in greater disease severity than group B infection among hospitalized infants.

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