Background: There are limited data on respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection among children in settings with a high prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). We studied the epidemiology of RSV-associated acute lower respiratory tract infection (ALRTI) hospitalizations among HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected children in South Africa.
Methods: Children aged <5 years admitted to sentinel surveillance hospitals with physician-diagnosed neonatal sepsis or ALRTI were enrolled. Nasopharyngeal aspirates were tested by multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction assays for RSV and other viruses. Associations between possible risk factors and severe outcomes for RSV infection among HIV-infected and uninfected children were examined. The relative risk of hospitalization in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected children was calculated in 1 site with population denominators.
Results: Of 4489 participants, 4293 (96%) were tested for RSV, of whom 1157 (27%) tested positive. With adjustment for age, HIV-infected children had a 3-5-fold increased risk of hospitalization with RSV-associated ALRTI (2010 relative risk, 5.6; [95% confidence interval (CI), 4.5-6.4]; 2011 relative risk, 3.1 [95% CI, 2.6-3.6]). On multivariable analysis, HIV-infected children with RSV-associated ALRTI had higher odds of death (adjusted odds ratio. 31.1; 95% CI, 5.4-179.8) and hospitalization for >5 days (adjusted odds ratio, 4.0; 95% CI, 1.5-10.6) than HIV-uninfected children.
Conclusion: HIV-infected children have a higher risk of hospitalization with RSV-associated ALRTI and a poorer outcome than HIV-uninfected children. These children should be targeted for interventions aimed at preventing severe RSV disease.