Research Activities April 2013, No. 392

Study tracks hospitalization rates for various respiratory viruses

Acute Care/Hospitalization

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human metapneumovirus (HMPV) are well-known causes of disease in children and are increasingly recognized to affect adults as well. In fact, a new study shows that RSV accounted for 6.1 percent and HMPV accounted for 4.5 percent of hospitalizations for acute respiratory illness among older adults during the winter viral season. Influenza was detected in 6.5 percent of hospitalizations for acute respiratory illness in this group. Over the 3-year study period, the Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers found annual rates of hospitalization per 10,000 residents were 15.01 for RSV, 9.82 for HMPV, and 11.81 for influenza. The study included 508 patients admitted to 4 different hospitals with acute respiratory infection.

For patients 50 years of age and older, hospitalization rates for both RSV and HMPV were similar to those for influenza. For adults 65 years and older, hospitalization rates for RSV and HMPV were higher than for influenza, probably due to successful influenza vaccination of the older population in the United States. In this study, 71 percent of the enrolled patients had received influenza vaccination, including 78 percent of those aged 65 and older. Compared with patients with confirmed influenza, patients with RSV were older and more immunocompromised; patients with HMPV were older, had more cardiovascular disease, were more likely to have received the influenza vaccination, and were less likely to report fever than those with influenza. This study was supported in part by AHRQ (HS13833).

See "Rates of hospitalization for respiratory syncytial virus, human metapneumovirus, and influenza virus in older adults," by Kyle Widmer, M.D., Yuwei Zhu, M.D., John V. Williams, M.D., and others in the July 1, 2012 Journal of Infectious Disease 206, pp. 56-62.


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Page originally created April 2013
Internet Citation: Study tracks hospitalization rates for various respiratory viruses. Content last reviewed April 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.