Seasonality of respiratory syncytial virus infection in Texas

Ann Ada Ikonne, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common cause of respiratory infection in infants and children that can result in bronchiolitis or pneumonia. Each year in the United States, it causes up to 400 deaths and 125,000 hospitalizations among children less than one year of age. RSV is transmitted by direct or close contact with contaminated secretions, which may involve droplets and fomites. Monthly administration of a monoclonal RSV antibody, palivizumab (Synagis™, MedImmune, Gaithersburg, MD), in premature infants, infants with chronic lung disease, or congenital heart disease has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of severe RSV infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) is a laboratory based passive reporting system that collects state, regional, and national RSV data. The CDC defines the RSV season onset as “the first of 2 consecutive weeks during which the mean percentage of specimens testing positive for RSV antigen is 10%.” RSV season offset is defined as the last of 2 consecutive weeks during which the percentage of positive specimens is less than or equal to 10%. Annual RSV epidemics generally occur during the winter and early spring months, but the RSV season is known to vary by national regions. Precise delineation of the RSV epidemiology by region could maximize protection from RSV and minimize the cost of RSV immune prophylaxis. The purpose of this thesis is to define the RSV season in Texas over time; compare the RSV season of the state of Texas and its regions with the national norms; and to compare RSV seasonality between the various regions in Texas. This study was a retrospective analysis of data reported to NREVSS to evaluate potential disparities in the onset weeks, offset weeks, and duration of the annual RSV season in Texas. Data were collected from 70 reporting sites, and includes information from the 2004–2005 to 2009–2010 RSV seasons. The observed median onset (week 44) and offset week (week 8) for the Texas were consistent with national estimates for the South. Regional estimates and statistical analysis suggested that the RSV season in Texas would be better represented by regions. Regional seasonal comparisons revealed considerable variation in season offset and duration between many of the geographic regions within Texas. This trend should be studied further.

Subject Area

Public health|Epidemiology|Health care management

Recommended Citation

Ikonne, Ann Ada, "Seasonality of respiratory syncytial virus infection in Texas" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1497550.