Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection of the lower respiratory tract is the leading cause of hospitalization of infants younger than 1 year of age in the United States. Up to 126,000 infants are hospitalized each year for bronchiolitis or pneumonia, and close to 20 percent of these are premature infants. RSV hospitalization is costly, amounting to more than $5,000 a day for an infant in need of respiratory assistance. RSV infection is also common among the elderly and immunocompromised individuals, and accounts for about 180,000 hospital admissions each year at a cost exceeding $1 billion. Immunoprophylaxis along with common-sense hygiene measures are key to protecting high-risk populations. This supplement presents up-to-date information on the seasonal variability of RSV, prevention strategies, therapeutic approaches, and managed care considerations to better manage RSV.
This supplement is based on an RSV Expert Panel held in Chicago, Aug. 18, 2008.