Current understanding of severe RSV infections in adults is limited by clinical under-recognition. We compared the prevalence, clinical characteristics, and outcomes of RSV infections vs influenza in adults hospitalized with acute respiratory illnesses in a prospective national surveillance network.
Hospitalized adults who met a standardized ARI case definition were prospectively enrolled across three respiratory seasons from hospitals participating across all sites of the U.S. Hospitalized Adult Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network (HAIVEN, 2016-2019). All participants were tested for RSV and influenza by RT-PCR. Multivariable logistic regression was used to test associations between laboratory-confirmed infection and characteristics and clinical outcomes.
Among 10,311 hospitalized adults, 6% tested positive for RSV (n=622), 18.8% positive for influenza (n=1,940), and 75.1% negative for RSV and influenza (n=7,749). Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) was more frequent among adults with RSV than influenza (CHF: 37.3% vs. 28.8%, p<0.0001; COPD: 47.6% vs. 35.8%, p<0.0001). Patients with RSV more frequently had longer admissions [OR=1.38 (95% CI: 1.06-1.80) for stays >one week] and mechanical ventilation [OR=1.45 (95% CI: 1.09-1.93)] compared with influenza, but not compared to the influenza negative group [OR=1.03 (95% CI: 0.82-1.28); OR=1.17 (0.91-1.49), respectively.].
The prevalence of RSV across three recent respiratory illness seasons was considerable. Our findings suggest those with RSV might incur worse outcomes than influenza in hospitalized adults and frequently have pre-existing cardiopulmonary conditions. This study informs future vaccination strategies and underscores a need for RSV surveillance among adults experiencing severe ARI.
Respiratory syncytial virus; adults; hospitalization; influenza.