Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) is the leading cause of childhood morbidity. Although also an important cause of childhood mortality worldwide, the impact of key risk factors has not been established. A systematic review of 34 articles reporting case fatality rates in young children hospitalized for severe RSV LRTI, according to the presence of underlying RSV risk factors, was conducted. The weighted mean case fatality rate was 1.2% (range, 0-8.3%; median, 0%; n = 10) among preterm infants; 5.2% (range, 2.0-37.0%; median, 5.9%; n = 7) among children with CHD; and 4.1% (range, 0-10.5%; median, 7.0%; n = 6) among children with BPD. Case fatality estimates among children not at high risk (n = 6) ranged from 0% to 1.5% (weighted mean, 0.2%; median, 0.0%). Fatality during hospitalization for severe RSV LRTI is rare among children not at high risk, but occurs more commonly among children at higher risk of RSV LRTI.
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