Aim: The objective of this study was to describe the rhythm of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis seasonal outbreaks in hospitalized children.
Methods: Data was collected from 1324 patients, who were admitted to our hospital with bronchiolitis, over an 11-year period, from 1994 to 2004. The epidemic onset was established according to the epidemic index. Virological diagnosis was made with immunofluorescent assay from nasopharyngeal washings. Rhythm study was carried-out by spectral analysis with the fast-Fourier transformed and cosinor method.
Results: Epidemics begin in September (45%) and October (55%); the highest peak was observed in January, the minimum in August and the end in February (73%), March (18%) and April (9%). When the epidemic outbreak begins sooner, the end is sooner as well. Epidemic onset varies but not its length and the onset was less variable than its conclusion. Spectral analysis showed a 12-months cyclic period along the study years and cosinor analysis demonstrated significant circannual rhythm. When data was segregated by long and short hospital stay, no significant differences were found between the rhythms. Comorbid association among bronchiolitis, otitis and gastroenteritis was very common.
Conclusion: Bronchiolitis epidemics onset and conclusion varies along time years in hospitalized infants and showed circannual rhythmicity with a 12-months period.