The results of a recent study indicate that respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections may spread rapidly among young children in day care.
The study, published in the August 2013 issue of the Journal of Clinical Virology, examined the molecular epidemiology of RSV transmission in childcare settings to evaluate the impact of RSV in a community-based population. The researchers sequenced RSV-positive nasopharyngeal samples from a prospective longitudinal study of respiratory illnesses among children enrolled in child care during 3 winter seasons. They then identified unique viral strains through phylogenetic analysis.
RSV was detected in 11% of all illnesses and was associated with longer symptom duration and a higher frequency of health care visits compared with other respiratory illnesses. The researchers found that in 2 childcare rooms, when 1 child was infected with RSV, 50% of the other children developed RSV infections within 6 days of the first case. After sequencing, 38% of infections in 1 child care room were identified as the same viral strain, suggesting rapid spread of infection over a 16-day period.
The authors conclude that RSV infections spread quickly among young children in child care settings. Therefore, new strategies to prevent RSV infections may be tested effectively in child care facilities, they suggest.