Serum Vitamin D Levels and Life-Threatening Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection in Previously Healthy Infants

J Infect Dis. 2022 Sep 21;226(6):958-966. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiac033.


Background: 25-hydroxyvitamin D (VD) effects on lung function and immune-modulation might affect respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection outcomes. We aimed to assess VD levels on admission and their association with life-threatening RSV disease (LTD).

Methods: A prospective cohort study was conducted during 2017-2019. Previously healthy infants aged <12 months, hospitalized with a first episode of RSV infection, were enrolled. LTD was defined by need for intensive care and ventilatory support. Serum VD levels <20 ng/mL were categorized as deficient, and 20-29.9 ng/mL as insufficient.

Results: Of 125 patients studied, 73 (58%) were male. Median age was 4 months. Twenty-two patients developed LTD. No differences in viral load were seen between cases with LTD and controls (P = .94). Patients who developed LTD had significantly lower VD levels: median 18.4 ng/mL (IQR, 15.1-26.9 ng/mL) versus 31.7 ng/mL (IQR, 23.6-42.0 ng/mL), P < .001; 59% of infants with LTD had VD deficiency compared with 12% in those with better outcome. Multivariable regression analysis confirmed VD deficiency as a risk factor (odds ratio, 11.83; 95% confidence interval, 3.89-35.9; P < .001).

Conclusions: These findings provide additional evidence for the development of strategies to prevent severe RSV infections.

Keywords: 25-hydroxyvitamin D; acute respiratory infection; bronchiolitis; intensive care; respiratory syncytial virus; severity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Viruses
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Vitamin D


  • Vitamin D