Relationship between neighborhood census-tract level socioeconomic status and respiratory syncytial virus-associated hospitalizations in U.S. adults, 2015-2017

BMC Infect Dis. 2021 Mar 23;21(1):293. doi: 10.1186/s12879-021-05989-w.


Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection causes substantial morbidity and mortality in children and adults. Socioeconomic status (SES) is known to influence many health outcomes, but there have been few studies of the relationship between RSV-associated illness and SES, particularly in adults. Understanding this association is important in order to identify and address disparities and to prioritize resources for prevention.

Methods: Adults hospitalized with a laboratory-confirmed RSV infection were identified through population-based surveillance at multiple sites in the U.S. The incidence of RSV-associated hospitalizations was calculated by census-tract (CT) poverty and crowding, adjusted for age. Log binomial regression was used to evaluate the association between Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission or death and CT poverty and crowding.

Results: Among the 1713 cases, RSV-associated hospitalization correlated with increased CT level poverty and crowding. The incidence rate of RSV-associated hospitalization was 2.58 (CI 2.23, 2.98) times higher in CTs with the highest as compared to the lowest percentages of individuals living below the poverty level (≥ 20 and < 5%, respectively). The incidence rate of RSV-associated hospitalization was 1.52 (CI 1.33, 1.73) times higher in CTs with the highest as compared to the lowest levels of crowding (≥5 and < 1% of households with > 1 occupant/room, respectively). Neither CT level poverty nor crowding had a correlation with ICU admission or death.

Conclusions: Poverty and crowding at CT level were associated with increased incidence of RSV-associated hospitalization, but not with more severe RSV disease. Efforts to reduce the incidence of RSV disease should consider SES.

Keywords: RSV; Socioeconomic status.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Censuses*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / economics*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Poverty
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / economics*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human
  • Social Class
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult