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RSV and the global burden of acute lower respiratory infections.

The global burden of disease attributable to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) remains unknown. This study, recently published in the Lancet, aimed to estimate the global incidence of and mortality from episodes of acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) due to RSV in children younger than 5 years in 2005.

The authors estimated the incidence of RSV-associated ALRI in children younger than 5 years, stratified by age, using data from a systematic review of studies published between January 1995 and June 2009, and 10 unpublished population-based studies. They estimated possible boundaries for RSV-associated ALRI mortality by combining case fatality ratios with incidence estimates from hospital-based reports from published and unpublished studies and identifying studies with population-based data for RSV seasonality and monthly ALRI mortality.

In 2005, an estimated 33.8 million new episodes of RSV-associated ALRI occurred worldwide in children younger than 5 years (22% of ALRI episodes), with at least 3.4 million episodes representing severe RSV-associated ALRI necessitating hospital admission. We estimated that 66 000-199 000 children younger than 5 years died from RSV-associated ALRI in 2005, with 99% of these deaths occurring in developing countries. Incidence and mortality can vary substantially from year to year in any one setting.

Globally, RSV is the most common cause of childhood ALRI and a major cause of admission to hospital as a result of severe ALRI. Mortality data suggest that RSV is an important cause of death in childhood from ALRI, after pneumococcal pneumonia and Haemophilus influenzae type b. The development of novel prevention and treatment strategies should be accelerated as a priority.

Nair H, et al. Lancet 2010; 375: 1545-1555 (doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60206-1).
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Title Annotation:ABSTRACTS
Author:Farham, Bridget
Publication:CME: Your SA Journal of CPD
Date:Aug 1, 2010
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