Respiratory viruses in neonates hospitalized with acute lower respiratory tract infections


Correspondence: So-Yeon Shim, MD, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, Gachon University Gil Hospital, 1198, Guwol-dong, Namdong-gu, Incheon 405-760, Korea. Email:



The burden of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in neonates has not been clearly studied. The aims of this study were to determine the overall distribution of respiratory viruses in neonates hospitalized with acute lower respiratory tract infectiosns (ALRI) and to describe the clinical characteristics of RSV infections in these neonates.


From January 2009 through May 2010, neonates aged <1 month who were hospitalized with ALRI and did not have underlying disease were included in the study. Viruses were identified on multiplex reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction using nasal swab samples. Clinical variables were evaluated between the RSV and non-RSV infection groups.


Of the 108 infants included in the study, 46 (42.6%) had RSV; human rhinovirus (18.5%), human parainfluenza virus 3 (7.5%), and human metapneumovirus (3.7%) were the next most common infections. Codetections accounted for 8.3% of the cases. Crowding increased the risk of RSV infection compared to the non-RSV group (OR, 16.5; P = 0.001). The RSV group had a greater incidence of dyspnea (P = 0.027), pneumonia (P < 0.001), requirement for oxygen (P < 0.001), and prolonged hospitalization (P = 0.011) than the non-RSV group.


RSV was the most common viral etiology in neonates without underlying diseases who were hospitalized with ALRI. The disease severity of RSV infection was worse than that of other detected viral infections. Strict prevention strategies should be considered in overcrowded situations.