Respiratory syncytial virus infection in young Malaysian children

Singapore Med J. 1999 May;40(5):336-40.


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most important agent causing respiratory illness in the young paediatric age group.

Objective: To determine the clinical profile and risk factors for respiratory distress in young Malaysian children with RSV infection.

Method: The study was a retrospective review of 185 children below the age of 24 months hospitalised with RSV infection. Respiratory distress at admission was categorised into mild, moderate and severe using a modified respiratory distress assessment instrument (RDAI) score.

Results: RSV infection occurred most frequently in the 3-6 months age group with a male predominance. A small number of patients had extrapulmonary symptoms of diarrhoea (8%) and seizures (7%). Forty-seven patients (25%) had an underlying illness. The majority of patients (63%) had mild respiratory distress. All patients (8%) with severe respiratory distress required intensive care and 80% of them required assisted ventilation. The overall mean duration of hospital stay was 7.0 +/- 5.0 days. There was only one death. Risk factors associated with respiratory distress included age less than 3 months, a family history of bronchial asthma and presence of an underlying disease.

Conclusion: The majority of Malaysian children with RSV infection had a mild illness but a small number of them who developed severe illness had a higher incidence of respiratory failure requiring assisted ventilation.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Malaysia
  • Male
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / complications
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / pathology*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human / pathogenicity*
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index