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Am J Public Health. 1988 Jan;78(1):34-9.

Lower respiratory tract illness in the first two years of life: epidemiologic patterns and costs in a suburban pediatric practice.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Rochester General Hospital, NY.


The epidemiologic patterns and the economic impact of acute lower respiratory tract illness (LRTI) in children under age two were studied using data collected from November 1, 1971-August 30, 1975 in a suburban pediatric practice in Monroe County, New York. LRTI was responsible for 23 illness episodes per 100 child-years among children in their first two years of life. This indicates that a cohort of 100 children might be anticipated to have 46 LRTI episodes from birth until their second birthday. The majority of episodes correlated with the presence of four viruses in the community, most commonly respiratory syncytial virus. The minimal, estimated direct cost of LRTI in the first two years of life based on 1984 cost data was equivalent to $35.14 for every child and was comprised of hospitalization cost ($19.68) and ambulatory care cost ($15.46). Hospitalization costs attributable to LRTI comprised at least 2.5 per cent of all hospitalization costs in this age group. Immunization against the four most common respiratory viruses, at a reasonable cost per child immunized, would appear to be cost beneficial.

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