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Acta Paediatr. 2002;91(5):593-8.

Population-based rates of severe respiratory syncytial virus infection in children with and without risk factors, and outcome in a tertiary care setting.

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Department of Woman and Child Health, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


The aim of this study was to make a population-based estimate of the risk of hospitalization and complications during virologically confirmed respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection in relation to established risk factors, and an estimation of additional risk factors and outcome as seen in a tertiary care referral centre. During a period of 12 y, all children with virologically confirmed RSV infection were included. Recorded complications were: admission to the intensive care unit, mechanical ventilation, death and later hospitalization for wheezing. In total, 1503 cases were identified, 1354 of which originated from the population defined by the catchment area. There was a biannual seasonal variation with late small outbreaks alternating with early large ones. The hospitalization rates for infants without risk factors were 0.8 and 1.4% during the 2 epidemic types. They were 1.6-3.2% for infants born preterm (<33 gestational wk), 2.9-7.0% for children under 2 y old with chronic lung disease of prematurity and 2.8-6.4% for infants with congenital heart disease. The presence of siblings in the family more than doubled the risk of hospitalization. Later hospitalization for wheezing occurred in 8.4 and 4.9% of children without risk factors over and under the age of 2 mo, respectively (p < 0.001).


This study found lower population rates of hospitalization and complications than have previously been reported. The seasonal variation and the presence of siblings in the home influenced these rates by factors of 2.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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