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 Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

nachricht Flexible sensors can detect movement in GI tract
11.10.2017 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

Im Focus: New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater

Hybrid material converts more sunlight and can weather seawater's harsh conditions

It's possible to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater, but the electricity required to do it makes the process costly. UCF...

Im Focus: Small collisions make big impact on Mercury's thin atmosphere

Mercury, our smallest planetary neighbor, has very little to call an atmosphere, but it does have a strange weather pattern: morning micro-meteor showers.

Recent modeling along with previously published results from NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft -- short for Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

Conference Week RRR2017 on Renewable Resources from Wet and Rewetted Peatlands

28.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A single photon reveals quantum entanglement of 16 million atoms

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The melting ice makes the sea around Greenland less saline

16.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

On the generation of solar spicules and Alfvenic waves

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>