Estimation of the Number of Respiratory Syncytial Virus-Associated Hospitalizations in Adults in the European Union

J Infect Dis. 2023 Nov 28;228(11):1539-1548. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiad189.


Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of lower respiratory tract infections in adults that can result in hospitalizations. Estimating RSV-associated hospitalization is critical for planning RSV-related healthcare across Europe.

Methods: We gathered RSV-associated hospitalization estimates from the RSV Consortium in Europe (RESCEU) for adults in Denmark, England, Finland, Norway, Netherlands, and Scotland from 2006 to 2017. We extrapolated these estimates to 28 European Union (EU) countries using nearest-neighbor matching, multiple imputations, and 2 sets of 10 indicators.

Results: On average, 158 229 (95% confidence interval [CI], 140 865-175 592) RSV-associated hospitalizations occur annually among adults in the EU (≥18 years); 92% of these hospitalizations occur in adults ≥65 years. Among 75-84 years, the annual average is estimated at 74 519 (95% CI, 69 923-79 115) at a rate of 2.24 (95% CI, 2.10-2.38) per 1000. Among ≥85 years, the annual average is estimated at 37 904 (95% CI, 32 444-43 363) at a rate of 2.99 (95% CI, 2.56-3.42).

Conclusions: Our estimates of RSV-associated hospitalizations in adults are the first analysis integrating available data to provide the disease burden across the EU. Importantly, for a condition considered in the past to be primarily a disease of young children, the average annual hospitalization estimate in adults was lower but of a similar magnitude to the estimate in young children (0-4 years): 158 229 (95% CI, 140 865-175 592) versus 245 244 (95% CI, 224 688-265 799).

Keywords: European Union; adults; burden; hospitalization; respiratory syncytial virus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • European Union
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections* / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections*