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BMC Infect Dis . Epidemiology and molecular characteristics of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) among italian community-dwelling adults, 2021/22 season

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  • BMC Infect Dis . Epidemiology and molecular characteristics of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) among italian community-dwelling adults, 2021/22 season


    BMC Infect Dis


    . 2023 Mar 7;23(1):134.
    doi: 10.1186/s12879-023-08100-7.
    Epidemiology and molecular characteristics of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) among italian community-dwelling adults, 2021/22 season


    Donatella Panatto 1 2 , Alexander Domnich 3 , Piero Luigi Lai 4 , Matilde Ogliastro 4 , Bianca Bruzzone 3 , Cristina Galli 5 , Federica Stefanelli 3 , Elena Pariani 5 , Andrea Orsi 4 6 3 , Giancarlo Icardi 4 6 3



    Affiliations

    Abstract

    Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a leading cause of acute respiratory infections worldwide. While historically RSV research has been focused on children, data on RSV infection in adults are limited. The goal of this study was to establish the prevalence of RSV in community-dwelling Italian adults and analyze its genetic variability during the 2021/22 winter season.
    Methods: In this cross-sectional study, a random sample of naso-/oropharyngeal specimens from symptomatic adults seeking for SARS-CoV-2 molecular testing between December 2021 and March 2022 were tested for RSV and other respiratory pathogens by means of reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. RSV-positive samples were further molecularly characterized by sequence analysis.
    Results: Of 1,213 samples tested, 1.6% (95% CI: 0.9-2.4%) were positive for RSV and subgroups A (44.4%) and B (55.6%) were identified in similar proportions. The epidemic peak occurred in December 2021, when the RSV prevalence was as high as 4.6% (95% CI: 2.2-8.3%). The prevalence of RSV detection was similar (p = 0.64) to that of influenza virus (1.9%). All RSV A and B strains belonged to the ON1 and BA genotypes, respectively. Most (72.2%) RSV-positive samples were also positive for other pathogens being SARS-CoV-2, Streptococcus pneumoniae and rhinovirus the most frequent. RSV load was significantly higher among mono-detections than co-detections.
    Conclusion: During the 2021/22 winter season, characterized by the predominant circulation of SARS-CoV-2 and some non-pharmaceutical containment measures still in place, a substantial proportion of Italian adults tested positive for genetically diversified strains of both RSV subtypes. In view of the upcoming registration of vaccines, establishment of the National RSV surveillance system is urgently needed.

    Keywords: Adult population; RSV; RSV epidemiology; RSV molecular characteristics; Respiratory syncytial virus.




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