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New Method Gives Better Local Start Date for RSV Prophylaxis

Using five years of data on RSV outbreaks can improve coverage at outbreak onset

THURSDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Using five years of local laboratory surveillance data to predict likely respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) outbreak timing is a viable method for recommending optimal immunoprophylaxis dates, according to research published online June 14 in Pediatrics.

Catherine A. Panozzo, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues reviewed 1992 to 2007 data on RSV infection from 19 laboratories in 15 states reporting to a national surveillance system. The median onset/offset dates of seasonal RSV outbreaks were determined for the most recent five years of data and compared to the onset/offset dates for 10 and 15 years of data.

The researchers found that the 19 laboratories generally experienced a single RSV outbreak per year. The five-year median method of determining the RSV outbreak timing and duration gave similar results to using 10- or 15-year medians. The researchers concluded that five years of data is sufficient to define a reasonable start date to begin local immunoprophylaxis, and that using this method will increase the number of seasons that children are protected at the season onset by 15 percent, compared with a fixed start date of November 1.

"Once local RSV season is characterized, other partners, such as insurance companies, clinicians, and public health officials, will need to work together to implement community-, state-, or region-specific RSV prophylaxis programs. These data suggest that the five-year median method can be used to characterize timing of RSV seasons and optimally apply the current American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for timing of palivizumab prophylaxis to the local community," the authors write.

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