The Health System Burden of RSV in Europe

EHMA’s white paper on the health system burden of the Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in Europe presents findings on the burden of paediatric RSV in hospitals (paediatric general wards and paediatric intensive care units); the community (primary and emergency care); and the impact of RSV-infection on health systems performance and healthcare resource use over the last three RSV seasons (2018/19, 2019/20, 2020/21). 

The study is based on a survey conducted among 374 HCPs (physicians in hospitals and the community, nurses, and allied healthcare professionals) in 20 European countries, from August 2021 to January 2022.

What is RSV and how does it affect us?

RSV is an urgent and immediate threat to all infants and a significant burden to health systems. Nearly every child is infected by RSV by the age of 2.

Globally, RSV is responsible for 33 million cases annually. It accounts for 63% of acute respiratory tract infections in infants and is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in infants. RSV is also a leading cause of hospitalisations for infants in their first year of life, and responsible for a significant outpatient burden.

Despite these concerning statistics, RSV is chronically underreported, and its burden is widely underappreciated.

The public health impact of RSV

The seasonality of RSV is a strong factor impacting on optimal health system performance. The peak rise in RSV infections and hospitalisation occurs between October to March in Europe. This results in acute pressure on primary care providers, emergency services, and paediatric hospital capacity.

RSV burden is strongly felt as there is no active treatment for the infection. RSV-related disease management is limited to symptomatic relief. No preventive option is available yet, for all infants. This is an unmet medical need.

Read the EHMA white paper here

View the infographic summarising key findings here