Respiratory syncytial virus disease burden in adults aged 60 years and older in high-income countries: A systematic literature review and meta-analysis


Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)-associated acute respiratory infection (ARI) is an underrecognized cause of illness in older adults. We conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis to estimate the RSV disease burden in adults ≥60 years in high-income countries.

Methods: Data on RSV-ARI and hospitalization attack rates and in-hospital case fatality rates (hCFR) in adults ≥60 years from the United States, Canada, European countries, Japan, and South Korea were collected based on a systematic literature search (January 1, 2000-November 3, 2021) or via other methods (citation search, unpublished studies cited by a previous meta-analysis, gray literature, and an RSV-specific abstract booklet). A random effects meta-analysis was performed on estimates from the included studies.

Results: Twenty-one studies were included in the meta-analysis. The pooled estimates were 1.62% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.84-3.08) for RSV-ARI attack rate, 0.15% (95% CI: 0.09-0.22) for hospitalization attack rate, and 7.13% (95% CI: 5.40-9.36) for hCFR. In 2019, this would translate into approximately 5.2 million cases, 470,000 hospitalizations, and 33,000 in-hospital deaths in ≥60-year-old adults in high-income countries.

Conclusions: RSV disease burden in adults aged ≥60 years in high-income countries is higher than previously estimated, highlighting the need for RSV prophylaxis in this age group.

Keywords: acute respiratory infection; disease burden; high-income countries; meta-analysis; older adults; respiratory syncytial virus.

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