The problem, the consequences, and rapid testing solutions
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is the most common cause of both severe respiratory illness such as bronchiolitis (inflammation of the bronchioles) in young children aged under two years and of hospital admissions due to acute respiratory illness in young children.1
In industrialized countries, it is the single most important cause of severe respiratory illness in and hospitalizations of infants and young children.2 In the USA alone, from 85,000 to 144,000 infants with RSV infection are hospitalized annually, resulting in 20%-25% of pneumonia cases and up to 70% of bronchiolitis cases in the hospital.2 Global RSV disease burden is estimated at 64 million cases and 160,000 deaths every year.2
Though most RSV infections do not result in hospital admission, infections are rarely asymptomatic.3,4 Symptoms such as coughing, sneezing and fever are similar to those of other common respiratory infections. Patients presenting with these symptoms are often treated empirically with antibiotics, without a formal diagnosis.
Although there is no specific treatment for RSV, diagnosis is very important. An accurate diagnosis allows infection control measures to be implemented, and enables the physician to withhold antibiotics, which are not effective against viruses.
Several studies have documented that physicians feel pressured by parents to prescribe antimicrobials for respiratory infections. Overprescribing of antibiotics for viral illness is a factor contributing to increasing antimicrobial resistance among bacterial pathogens encountered in pediatrics.5 Infants and children with RSV infections typically recover in 1 to 2 weeks, however, even after recovery, very young infants and those children who have weakened immune systems can continue to spread RSV for 1 to 3 weeks.6
If a proper diagnosis is not made, suitable infection control measures may not be implemented and infected children could continue to spread the virus.
The rapid and accurate detection of RSV facilitates appropriate clinical management, including judicious antibiotic usage.7Alere™ i RSV delivers molecular RSV results in 13 minutes or less on our unique Alere™ i platform. Traditional laboratory methods and rapid antigen testing for RSV diagnosis have considerable shortcomings in terms of turnaround time or performance.7,8 Alere™ i RSV allows you to make real-time clinical decisions which impact patient care.
A specific diagnosis allows clinicians to avoid subjecting their patients to unnecessary tests and enables prompt initiation of appropriate supportive care.7,9
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Alere also offers a range of lateral flow tests to aid in the rapid diagnosis of RSV, including Alere BinaxNOW® RSV.
- Health Protection Agency (HPA) Respiratory Syncytial Virus RSV. [Online] Available From: http://www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/InfectiousDiseases/InfectionsAZ/RespiratorySyncytialVirus/ Accessed: 06 Mar 13
- World Health Organization (WHO) Acute Respiratory Infections (Update September 2009). [Online] Available from: http://www.who.int/vaccine_research/diseases/ari/en/index2.html# Accessed: 08 Mar 13
- Popow-Kraupp, T. and Aberle, J.H. (2011) Diagnosis of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection. The Open Microbiology Journal, 5, (Suppl 2-M2) 128-134.
- Crowcroft, N.S. et al. (1999) Respiratory syncytial virus: an underestimated cause of respiratory infection, with prospects for a vaccine. Communicable Disease and Public Health, Vol 2; No. 4.
- Byington, C.L. et al. (2002) The effect of rapid respiratory viral diagnostic testing on antibiotic use in a children’s hospital. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med, Vol 156, pp.1230-34.
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC): About RSV - Infection and Incidence. [Online]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/rsv/about/infection.html Accessed: 06 Mar 13
- Prendergast, C. et al. J. Rapid Antigen-based testing for Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Moving Diagnostics from Bench to Bedside? Future Microbiol, 2013;8(4):435-444.
- Caliendo, A. et al. Better Tests, Better Care: Improved Diagnostics for Infectious Diseases. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2013;57(S3):S139–70
- Mackie, P.L.K. et al. Evaluation of an acute point-of-care system screening for respiratory syncytial virus infection. J Hosp Infect, 2001, 48: 66-71.
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