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The Pediatric Forum
January 2001

The Economic Burden of Respiratory Syncytial Virus–Associated Bronchiolitis Hospitalizations

Author Affiliations

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Copyright 2001 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2001

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2001;155(1):95-96. doi:10.1001/archpedi.155.1.95

Unexpected and substantial increases in hospitalization rates as a result of acute bronchiolitis among infants and young children in the United States point to the growing public health burden of this disease. This was highlighted in a recent publication by Shay et al1 using data from 1980 through 1996 from the National Hospital Discharge Survey. The authors reported increases in acute bronchiolitis hospitalization rates of 152% and 77% among infants and children aged 1 to 4 years, respectively. Based on their estimates that between 50% and 80% of these hospitalizations are attributable to infection with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the authors provided current annual estimates of RSV-associated bronchiolitis hospitalizations in the range of 51 240 to 81 985 among children younger than 1 year and 62 518 to 100 029 in children younger than 5 years. We felt that it would further enhance our understanding of the impact of RSV by estimating the costs associated with these hospitalizations. Based on the analysis of Shay et al, we estimated the relative and absolute costs of RSV-associated bronchiolitis hospitalizations among all children younger than 5 years using data from the 1993 National Inpatient Sample of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project.2

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