Reemergent RSV Epidemics Could Be More Intense in 2021 to 2022

Virus introduced from external sources linked to emergence of spring and summer epidemic in 2021

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FRIDAY, Dec. 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Pediatricians should be alert to the possibility of a large respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) epidemic in the coming seasons, according to a study published online Dec. 16 in JAMA Network Open.

Zhe Zheng, M.B.B.S., from the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues examined the dynamics of reemergent RSV epidemics in a simulation modeling study. The annual epidemics of RSV were reproduced before the COVID-19 pandemic in New York and California; these models were modified to project the trajectories of RSV epidemics from 2020 to 2025 under different scenarios involving mitigation measures for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.

The researchers found that virus introduction from external sources was associated with the emergence of a spring and summer epidemic in 2021 among a simulated population of 19.45 million people. There was a tradeoff between the intensity of the epidemic in the spring and summer of 2021 and the intensity in the subsequent winter. The estimated incidence of RSV hospitalizations was 707 per 100,000 children per year in the 2021 to 2022 RSV season among children aged 1 year compared with 355 per 100,000 children per year in a typical RSV season.

"Reemergent RSV epidemics in 2021 to 2022 were expected to be more intense and to affect patients in a broader age range than in typical RSV seasons," the authors write. "The timing of reemergent RSV epidemics might be different from the usual RSV season, depending on the duration of mitigation measures and the extent of virus introduction from other regions."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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