[An epidemic of respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis among infants in northern Israel]

Harefuah. 1996 Feb 1;130(3):161-4; 224, 223.
[Article in Hebrew]


In the wake of a community outbreak of bronchiolitis in northern Israel from December 1993 to March 1994, we conducted a retrospective study of 108 infants aged 2 weeks to 14 months with proven respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection (diagnosed by a rapid RSV antigen test in nasopharyngeal secretions). 47% of the infants were less than 8 weeks old. Mean hospital stay was 6.6 days (range 1-60). The characteristic clinical findings were: cough in all patients, dyspnea in 96%, rhinitis in 95% and fever in 55%. In those younger than 8 weeks, or in those with underlying diseases, hospitalization was longer, the disease was more serious and complications more frequent (p < 0.002). 4 children (3%) died, 3 of whom had severe congenital heart defects. All children were treated with oxygen and beta-agonist inhalations. The 33% who also received corticosteroids were older and most had a history of pulmonary diseases, such as asthma or bronchopulmonary dysplasia. There was no difference between those who did or did not receive corticosteroids with regard to severity of disease or rate of complications. Ribavirin was used to treat 19 (17.5%), most of whom had underlying lung disease. The others were otherwise healthy infants younger than 8 weeks. 13 were cared for in the intensive care unit, 11 of whom required mechanical ventilation. A rapid test for detection of RSV infection enabled prompt isolation of infected patients so that the risk of nosocomial infection was reduced and Ribavirin therapy could be started early, if required.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bronchiolitis, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Bronchiolitis, Viral / therapy
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ribavirin / therapeutic use


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Ribavirin