Introduction: The epidemiology, clinical features and outcomes of hospitalized adult patients with Influenza A (FluA), Influenza B (FluB) and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) have not been thoroughly compared. The aim of this study was to describe the differences between these viruses during 3 winter seasons.
Methods: A retrospective observational study was conducted consisting of all the polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based diagnoses of FluA, FluB and RSV among adults during 2015-2018, in one regional hospital. Epidemiology, clinical symptoms and outcome-related data were comparatively analyzed.
Results: Between November 2015 and April 2018, 759 patients were diagnosed with FluA, FluB or RSV. Study cohort included 539 adult patients (306 FluA, 148 FluB and 85 RSV). FluB was predominant during the winter of 2017-18. RSV caused 15.7% of hospitalizations with diagnosed viral infection and in comparison to influenza, had distinct epidemiological, clinical features and outcomes, including older age (74.2 vs 66.2, p = 0.001) and higher rates of co-morbidities; complications including bacterial pneumonia (31 vs 18%, p = 0.02), mechanical ventilation (20 vs 7%, p = 0.001), and viral-related death (13 vs 6.6%, p = 0.04). FluA and FluB had similar epidemiology, clinical symptoms and outcomes, but vaccinated patients were less prone to be hospitalized with FluB as compared with FluA (3 vs 14%, p = 0.001). Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and falls were common (8.7 and 8.5% respectively).
Conclusions: FluA and FluB had similar epidemiological, clinical features and contributed equally to hospitalization burden and complications. RSV had a major impact on hospitalizations, occurring among the more elderly and sick populations and causing significantly worse outcomes, when compared to influenza patients. Vaccination appeared as a protective factor against hospitalizations with FluB as compared with FluA.