Children, parents and Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Palermo, Italy: prevention is primary

J Child Health Care. 2010 Dec;14(4):396-407. doi: 10.1177/1367493509359231. Epub 2010 Apr 15.


A study was conducted to describe the characteristics of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infection cases occurring in the season 2006-7 in Palermo, Italy, and to evaluate the parents' knowledge and behaviours concerning prevention and control of acute respiratory infections (ARIs). All children aged between 0 and 2 years, admitted for a lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) between October 2006 and May 2007, were enrolled in the study. Data were collected about demographic and household characteristics. Furthermore, their parents were asked to compile a structured questionnaire on transmission, prevention and management of ARIs in children. A total of 198 children with a diagnosis of LRTI were enrolled. Ninety-eight (62.0%) of 157 were positive for RSV. Parents were generally aware of transmission of ARIs through sneezing and/or coughing, but less through contaminated objects or hands. Nationality, age and education level of parents and also the age of the patients proved to be associated with some self-reported knowledge and behaviours. Only 24 (12.3%) of the 195 respondents had received advice from GPs or paediatricians about good hygiene practices. It seems essential to implement public health interventions promoting behavioural changes aimed at the primary prevention of ARIs at the community level.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Educational Status
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Parents*
  • Primary Prevention*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / transmission
  • Respiratory Syncytial Viruses / isolation & purification
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / microbiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult