Impact of Enterovirus Testing on Resource Use in Febrile Young Infants: A Systematic Review

Hosp Pediatr. 2017 Feb;7(2):96-102. doi: 10.1542/hpeds.2016-0060. Epub 2017 Jan 12.


Context: Enterovirus infection commonly causes fever in infants aged 0 to 90 days and, without testing, is difficult to differentiate from serious bacterial infection.

Objective: To determine the cost savings of routine enterovirus testing and identify subgroups of infants with greater potential impact from testing among infants 0 to 90 days old with fever.

Data sources: Studies were identified systematically from published and unpublished literature by using Embase, Medline, the Cochrane database, and conference proceedings.

Study selection: Inclusion criteria were original studies, in any language, of enterovirus infection including the outcomes of interest in infants aged 0 to 90 days.

Data extraction: Standardized instruments were used to appraise each study. The evidence quality was evaluated using Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation criteria. Two investigators independently searched the literature, screened and critically appraised the studies, extracted the data, and applied the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation criteria.

Results: Of the 257 unique studies identified and screened, 32 were completely reviewed and 8 were included. Routine enterovirus testing was associated with reduced hospital length of stay and cost savings during peak enterovirus season. Cerebrospinal fluid pleocytosis was a poor predictor of enterovirus meningitis. The studies were all observational and the evidence was of low quality.

Conclusions: Enterovirus polymerase chain reaction testing, independent of cerebrospinal fluid pleocytosis, can reduce length of stay and achieve cost savings, especially during times of high enterovirus prevalence. Additional study is needed to identify subgroups that may achieve greater cost savings from testing to additionally enhance the efficiency of testing.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Infections / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Enterovirus Infections* / diagnosis
  • Enterovirus Infections* / physiopathology
  • Enterovirus Infections* / virology
  • Enterovirus* / genetics
  • Enterovirus* / isolation & purification
  • Fever / etiology*
  • Health Care Rationing / methods*
  • Hospitals, Pediatric / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction