Community respiratory viruses (CRV) are important agents of morbidity and mortality within the allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HCT) population. Few proven methods to prevent CRV infections exist. No studies have specifically investigated their impact on older patients. We reviewed patients 50 years and older undergoing HCT between 2009-2013 to determine the incidence of CRV infection using multiplex PCR and risk factors for infection including geriatric assessment (GA). Thirty-two first episode CRV infections occurred in 118 patients for a 1-year cumulative incidence of 27.2% (CI: 19.4-35.6%). Hospitalization and mortality were restricted to those who developed lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) (n = 22, 69%). CRV infection contributed to 8 deaths (36% of LRTIs) and 7 of these patients were taking steroids for GvHD at the time of infection. Health impairments by GA did not translate into increased risk for CRV infection. Steroid use at time of LRTI was associated with high mortality.
Keywords: geriatric assessment; hematopoietic cell transplantation; incidence; respiratory viruses.