Researchers Develop New Tool To Identify Infants at High Risk for RSV Complications

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Researchers at Vanderbilt University have created a tool that could help identify babies at greater risk for severe illness from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Specifically, the research team developed a statistical model that includes a variety of clinical and demographic factors to determine an infant’s risk of suffering a lower respiratory tract infection from RSV. The tool incorporates variables associated with poor RSV outcomes, such as delivery method, mother’s age, prenatal smoking, and the use of ventilation during birth hospitalization. The researchers tested their tool on a population of infants enrolled in the Tennessee Medicaid program, and they published the results in the scientific journal, Open Forum Infectious Diseases.

The study’s authors hope that their tool will fill the critical need to inform parents that their child is vulnerable to RSV complications. “At least half of infant hospitalizations due to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in the United States are among infants who are currently considered low-risk (i.e., healthy and term),” the study authors wrote. Every year RSV hospitalizes between 58,000-80,000 children under 5 years old.

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