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Hospitalisation for RSV infection in ex-preterm infants—implications for use of RSV immune globulin
  1. Mark Thomasa,
  2. Alison Bedford-Russella,
  3. Mike Sharlandb
  1. aNeonatal Unit, St George's Hospital, Blackshaw Road, London SW17 0QT, UK, bPaediatric Infectious Diseases Unit, St George's Hospital
  1. Dr Bedford-Russell email: alison.bedford-russell{at}


BACKGROUND Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) specific immune globulin is now being marketed for prevention of RSV infection in ex-preterm infants. However, there are no published UK data on the morbidity or mortality from RSV in these infants.

AIMS To determine the morbidity and mortality from RSV infection in a cohort of infants previously treated at a regional neonatal unit, and compare the cost of hospitalisation for RSV with the potential cost of administering RSV immune globulin (RSV-IG) prophylaxis.

METHODS Infants born at a gestation of less than 32 weeks were studied. Details of admissions for respiratory illness in the first two years of life were collected from hospital records, referring hospitals, and general practitioners.

RESULTS Data on 82 infants were collected. Up to three RSV seasons were encountered. The hospitalisation rate for confirmed RSV infection for the first season encountered was 4%. Rates of ward and paediatric intensive care unit admission were higher for infants with chronic lung disease. There were no deaths from RSV. RSV-IG would not have been cost effective for most infants.

CONCLUSION The morbidity and mortality rates from RSV observed in this group do not support the widespread introduction of RSV-IG prophylaxis for ex-preterm infants.

  • respiratory syncytial virus
  • RSV prophylaxis
  • palivizumab
  • cost effectiveness

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