Epidemiology of respiratory syncytial virus infection among infants over three winter seasons

  • E. A. O’Kelly
  • Irene B. Hillary


A study involving respiratory syncytial virus was carried out on infants and young children hospitalised with acute respiratory tract infection over the period December 1987 to March 1990. During peak periods of RS virus activity 420 naso-pharyngeal aspirates were submitted to the Virus Reference Laboratory, Department of Medical Microbiology, U.C.D., mostly from the Dublin region. Using immunofluorescence, enzyme linked immunosorbent assay and cell culture techniques 206 samples (49%) were identified as positive for RS virus. Over the period of study RS virus seasonal activity was confined to the winer months October to March with peaks of activity occurring during March 1988, December 1988 and January 1990.

Bronchiolitis was the most common ch'nical manifestation of infection accounting for 48 % of the total number of positive results. Eighty two point five per cent of positive detections were reported from infants ≤6 months old and particularly from infants in the 1–2 month old age group. More males than females were found to be affected by RS virus infection.


Influenza Respiratory Syncytial Virus Bronchiolitis Acute Respiratory Tract Infection Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Peacock, D., Clarice, S. K. R. Respiratory syncytial viras in Britain. Lancet 1961: 2, 466.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Martin, A. J., Gardner, P.S., McQuillin, J. Epidemiology of respiratory syncytial viral infection among paediatric inpatients over a six year period in north-east England. Lancet 1973: 2, 1035–1038.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Suto, T., Yano, N., Ikeda, M., Miyamo, M., Takai, S., Shigeta, S., Himena, Y., Ishida, N. Respiratory syncytial virus infection and its serological epidemiology. Amer. J. Epid. 1965: 82, 211–224.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lewis, F. A., Rae, M. L., Lehmann, N. I., Ferris, A. A. A syncytial virus associated with epidemic disease of the lower respiratory tract in infants and young children. Med. J. Aust. 1961: 2, 932–933.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Mufson, M. A., Levine, H. D., Walsh, R. E., Mocega-Gonzales, H. E. Epidemiology of respiratory syncytial infections among infants and children in Chicago. Amer. J. Epid. 1973: 98, 88–95.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Glezen, W. P., Denny, G. W. Epidemiology of acute respiratory disease in children. New Eng. J. Med. 1973: 288, 498–505.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Communicable Disease Report. Respiratory syncytial virus activity in the United Kingdom. J. Infect. 1980: 2, 93–97, 1980.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Grist, N. R., Ross, P. C., Scott, E. J. Influenza, respiratory syncytial virus and pneumonia in Glasgow. Br. Med. J. 1967: 1, 456–457.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kim, H. W., Arrabio, J. O., Brandt, D., Jeffries, B. C., Pyles, G., Reid, J. L., Chamock, R. M., Parrott, R. H. Epidemiology of respiratory syncytial virus infection in Washington D.C. 1. Importance of the virus in different respiratory tract disease syndromes and temporal distribution of infection. Amer. J. Epid. 1973: 98, 216–226.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    Hall, MacDonald, N. E., Klemperer, M. R., Ettinger, L. J. Respiratory syncytial virus in immunocompromised children. Pediatr. Res. 1981: 15, 613.Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    Brandt, D., Kim, H. W., Arrabio, J. O., Jeffries, B. C., Wood, S. C., Chamock, R. M., Parrott, R. H. Epidemiology of respiratory syncytial virus infection in Washington, D.C. III. Composite analysis of eleven consecutive yearly epidemics. Amer. J. Epid. 1973: 98, 355–364.Google Scholar
  12. 13.
    Hall, C. B., Douglas, R. G. Clinically useful method of the isolation of respiratory syncytial virus. J. Infect. Dis. 1975: 131, 1–5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 14.
    Parrott, R. H., Kim, H. W., Arrobio, J. O., Jodes, D. S., Murphy, B. R., Brandt, C. D., Camargo, E., Chanock, R. M. Epidemiology of respiratory syncytial virus in Washington, D.C. II. Infection and disease with respect to age, immunologie status, race and sex. J. Epid. 1973: 98, 290–300.Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    De Silva, L. M., Hanlon, M. G. Respiratory syncytial virus: A report of a 5 year study at a children’s hospital. J. Med. Virol. 1986: 19, 299–305.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 16.
    Hall, Kopelman, A. E., Douglas, R. G., Geiman, J. M., Meagher, M. D. Neonatal respiratory syncytial virus infection. New Eng. J. Med. 1979: 300, 393–396.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 17.
    Mathur. U., Bentley, D.W., Hall, C. B. Concurrent respiratory syncytial virus and influenza A infections in the institutionalised elderly and chronically ill. Amer. Intern. Med. 1980: 93, 49–52.Google Scholar
  17. 18.
    Fransen, H., Sterner, G., Forsgren, M. Acute lower respiratory illness in elderly patients with respiratory syncytial virus infection. Acta Med. Scand. 1967: 182, 323–330.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 19.
    Communicable Diseases Surveillance Centre, PHLS, London (CDR 85/ 05) unpublished. 1985.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. A. O’Kelly
    • 1
  • Irene B. Hillary
    • 1
  1. 1.Virus Reference Laboratory, Department of Medical MicrobiologyUniversity CollegeDublin

Personalised recommendations