The RSV Alert program facilitates the tracking of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) at the local level, potentially improving disease management, according to an interim assessment of the ’06-’07 RSV season reported at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in San Francisco on October 27.

The program incorporates real-time, weekly reports of RSV tests conducted in most U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) and its database represents the largest aggregation of RSV surveillance data in the United States.
“Substantial variation in timing of community RSV epidemic precludes the use of national or regional data to define or predict any one individual community outbreak for any specific season,” said Marnie L. Boron, PharmD and director and grants and professional services at MedImmune Inc, Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Boron added that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that practitioners consult local laboratories for up-to-date data on RSV activity since testing is not always uniform and local data regarding the onset and offset of RSV season are not always available.

A greater degree of consistent local RSV surveillance will permit more accurate characterization of regional and local differences in yearly RSV epidemics, the researchers said, thereby setting the stage for improved local decisions regarding RSV prevention and management.

RSV infections are the leading cause of hospitalization in the first year of life and may lead to significant morbidity.