Does viral load affect the severity of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) disease in children?

Uusitupa E, Waris M, Heikkinen T.


Over the past years results on the associations between RSV loads and severe manifestations of the RSV illness were contradictory. Nevertheless, association between viral load and severity of illness in contributive for the use of antivirals in RSV disease. Heikkinen and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study of respiratory outpatient naturally infected children. During each episode of respiratory illness, children were clinically examined, nasal swaps for virus sampling were taken and daily symptoms were recorded. In 201 new onset RSV infections, Heikkinen and colleagues show that children with higher viral load had significantly longer durations of respiratory compared to children with lower viral load. The findings in this largest outpatient study so far on this topic, support the concept that viral load drives the severity of RSV disease in children. RSV infected children might benefit of the reduction of RSV viral load by RSV antivirals.

Full article on PubMed.