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Am J Infect Control. 1999 Apr;27(2):91-6.

Reducing the rate of nosocomially transmitted respiratory syncytial virus.

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Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control Department, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland 21287-5425, USA.

Erratum in

  • Am J Infect Control 1999 Jun;27(3):303.



A large number (17) of nosocomial respiratory syncytial virus cases led to the development of control measures to prevent transmission of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) within the Johns Hopkins Hospital's Children's Center.


The control plan is based on a 2-stage process. In stage 1, the staff are notified that RSV is in the community, and information is distributed through a communication tree. Stage 2 requires that nasopharyngeal aspirates be obtained from all children <3 years of age who have respiratory symptoms. The aspirates are tested directly for RSV antigen and cultured for RSV. The children are placed on pediatric droplet precautions pending those results.


The proportion of nosocomial RSV cases dropped from 16.5% before the use of RSV control measures to 7.2% after the initiation of the control program. A case of RSV identified in the hospital was 2.6 times more likely to be nosocomially acquired before the intervention compared with after the intervention. Approximately 14 cases of RSV are prevented each year, which results in a savings of 56 hospital-days and more than $84,000 in direct hospital-related charges alone.


The nosocomial spread of RSV can be reduced by a specific and feasible control plan that includes early identification and rapid isolation of potential RSV cases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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