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JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 9: e43941, 2023 04 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2287825


BACKGROUND: Longitudinal studies characterizing the epidemic trend of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in Hubei Province are scarce. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to depict the dynamics of the RSV epidemic among hospitalized children with acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs) during 2014 to 2022 in the Maternal and Child Health Hospital of Hubei Province and investigate the influence of the 2-child policy and the COVID-19 pandemic on RSV prevalence. METHODS: The medical records and testing results of hospitalized children with ARTI from January 2014 to June 2022 were extracted. Nasopharyngeal samples were tested with direct immunofluorescence assay. Detection rates of RSV were categorized according to the diagnosis of patients: (1) overall, (2) upper respiratory tract infection (URTI), and (3) lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI). Poisson regression models were used to investigate the association between RSV detection rate and age, gender, or diagnosis. The detection rates of RSV before and after the implementation of the universal 2-child policy were compared using a Poisson regression model. Multiple comparisons of RSV detection rates were conducted among 3 stages of the COVID-19 pandemic using chi-square tests. Seasonal autoregressive integrated moving average was performed to predict RSV behaviors from February 2020 to June 2020 under the assumption of a non-COVID-19 scenario. RESULTS: Among 75,128 hospitalized children with ARTI, 11.1% (8336/75,128) were RSV-positive. Children aged <1 year had higher detection rates than older children (4204/26,498, 15.9% vs 74/5504, 1.3%; P<.001), and children with LRTI had higher detection rates than children with URTI (7733/53,145, 14.6% vs 603/21,983, 2.7%; P<.001). Among all the children, a clear seasonal pattern of the RSV epidemic was observed before 2021. Most of the highest detection rates were concentrated between December and February. The yearly detection rate of RSV remained at a relatively low level (about 8%) from 2014 to 2017, then increased to 12% and above from 2018. The highest monthly detection rate was in December 2018 (539/1493, 36.1%), and the highest yearly rate was in 2021 (1372/9328, 14.7%). There was a moderate increase in the RSV detection rate after the 2-child policy was implemented (before: 860/10,446, 8.2% vs after: 4920/43,916, 11.2%; P<.001). The largest increase, by 5.83%, occurred in children aged <1 year. The RSV epidemic level decreased sharply in the short term after the COVID-19 outbreak (detection rate before: 1600/17,010, 9.4% vs after: 32/1135, 2.8%; P<.001). The largest decrease, by 12.0%, occurred in children aged <1 year, but a rebounding epidemic occurred after 2020 (680/5744, 11.8%; P<.001). CONCLUSIONS: Children have been experiencing increased prevalence of RSV since 2018 based on surveillance from a hospital in Hubei Province with a large sample size. The 2-child policy might have increased the RSV prevalence, and the COVID-19 epidemic had a temporary inhibitory effect on RSV transmission. Vaccines against RSV are urgently needed.

COVID-19 , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections , Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human , Respiratory Tract Infections , Humans , Child , Adolescent , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/epidemiology , Child, Hospitalized , Pandemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology , Longitudinal Studies , Hospitals , China/epidemiology