Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of acute respiratory illness (ARI). Little is known about RSV disease among older children and adults in Central America.
Methods: Prospective surveillance for ARI among hospital patients and clinic patients was conducted in Guatemala during 2007-2012. Nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swab specimens were tested for RSV, using real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction.
Results: Of 6287 hospitalizations and 2565 clinic visits for ARI, 24% and 12%, respectively, yielded RSV-positive test results. The incidence of RSV-positive hospitalization for ARI was 5.8 cases/10 000 persons per year and was highest among infants aged <6 months (208 cases/10 000 persons per year); among adults, the greatest incidence was observed among those aged ≥ 65 years (2.9 cases/10 000 persons per year). The incidence of RSV-positive clinic visitation for ARI was 32 cases/10 000 persons per year and was highest among infants aged 6-23 months (186 cases/10 000 persons per year). Among RSV-positive hospital patients with ARI, underlying cardiovascular disease was associated with death, moribund discharge, intensive care unit admission, or mechanical ventilation (odds ratio, 4.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.9-8.8). The case-fatality proportion among RSV-positive hospital patients with ARI was higher for those aged ≥ 5 years than for those aged <5 years (13% vs 3%; P < .001).
Conclusions: The incidences of RSV-associated hospitalization and clinic visitation for ARI were highest among young children, but a substantial burden of ARI due to RSV was observed among older children and adults.
Keywords: acute respiratory illness; epidemiology; respiratory syncytial virus; severity; surveillance.