Pneumonia Risk Rises with Respiratory Virus Infection

JANUARY 10, 2015
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection increases the risk of pneumonia in young children, according to research published in the January 6, 2015, edition of PLOS Medicine.
For their study, Daniel Weinberger, of the Yale University School of Public Health, and colleagues analyzed data from more than 700,000 RSV hospitalizations and more than 16,000 pneumococcal pneumonia hospitalizations that had been collected between 1992 and 2009.
The research indicated an association between high numbers of RSV hospitalizations and pneumococcal disease caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, with 20.3% of pneumococcal pneumonia cases in children aged younger than 1 year correlating with high RSV activity. Furthermore, RSV hospitalizations for children under age 1 declined significantly following the introduction of routine S. pneumoniae vaccination in 2000.
However, the researchers could not determine whether the children had actually been infected with both pathogens because their analysis only involved hospitalizations linked to either one. Although the associations could not prove that 1 infection increases susceptibility to another, the results indicated a possible interaction between RSV and pneumococcal pneumonia.