Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Respiratory syncytial virus poses a significant threat to elderly

28.04.2005


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), primarily seen as a cause of illness in infants and children, often affects the elderly and high-risk adults as much as influenza, a study by University of Rochester Medical Center researchers demonstrates.



Although pediatricians are well aware of RSV, most internists rarely consider RSV in adult patients. However, an estimated 14,000 elderly and high-risk adults die annually from an RSV infection, according to research by Ann R. Falsey, M.D., and Edward E. Walsh, M.D.

RSV infections account for more than 177,500 hospitalizations of adults each year at a cost that exceeds $1 billion.


The study, published in the April 28 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, confirms the need for the development of an RSV vaccine for elderly and high-risk adults, says Falsey, an associate professor of medicine and the study’s principal investigator.

"This in no way diminishes the impact of RSV in children," Falsey says. "For the elderly, RSV can be serious, similar to the flu. Overall, RSV causes a substantial burden of disease in adults. Development of a vaccine would be worthwhile."

While RSV has been recognized as a potentially serious problem for adults for 30 years, there has been limited documentation of the extent of RSV infections. The four-year study by researchers is the first large investigation over a substantial period of time that used state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques.

The study has important repercussions for public health strategy and for the prioritization of the development of vaccines and antiviral agents, according to an editorial accompanying the research article in The New England Journal of Medicine.

RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia among infants and children under 1 year of age. But RSV causes repeated infections throughout life. In adults, the symptoms are similar to the common cold, but they are more severe and last longer. The virus is highly contagious, entering the nose or eyes by hands and by direct contact with residue from coughs or sneezes.

Falsey and the research group conducted the study through four consecutive winters from late 1999 to early 2003. The work was done at Rochester General Hospital.

The group followed 1,388 hospitalized patients, 608 healthy people over the age of 65, and 540 adults (older than 21 years of age) who were considered high risk because of a diagnosis of congestive heart failure or chronic pulmonary disease. Diagnosis was confirmed by culture, molecular diagnostics or serologic test. A total of 2,514 illnesses were evaluated.

The impact of RSV infection on both the healthy elderly and the high-risk group was significant. RSV infection, for example, accounted for 10.6 percent of hospitalizations for pneumonia during winter months, 11.4 percent for those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 5.4 percent for congestive heart failure, and 7.2 percent for asthma.

Although RSV disease was somewhat milder when compared to influenza A, RSV infection was more common. The total number of doctor visits and hospitalizations for the two viruses was similar over the four-year period of the study.

Currently, there are only two approved treatments for RSV. One is ribavirin, an antiviral agent administered as an aerosol. Palivuzumab is a prophylactic immune reagent given by injection. Both are licensed only for treatment of children.

The World Health Organization has designated RSV as a high-priority target for vaccine development. The research by Falsey and the group, according to The New England Journal editorial, provide a new understanding of RSV infection in adults and "an impetus to renew research on the treatment and prevention of RSV infection -- progress that is far from satisfactory at the present."

Research and, in some cases, trials of vaccines for RSV are underway. Some work is being done at the UR Medical Center. Falsey says the vaccines are "very promising."

Now that spring has arrived, RSV will fade. Infections generally occur from October to April. In the tropics, RSV appears during the rainy season.

"Nobody really knows why it goes away," Falsey says. "Many theories have to do with cold and crowding but none are entirely satisfactory."

The research group also includes Patricia A. Hennessey, R.N.; Maria A. Formica, M.S.; and Christopher Cox, Ph.D.

Michael Wentzel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.urmc.rochester.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour
24.05.2018 | Arizona State University

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>