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Respiratory syncytial virus-associated acute respiratory infection (RSV-ARI) constitutes a substantial disease burden in older adults aged ≥65 years. We aimed to identify all studies worldwide investigating the disease burden of RSV-ARI in this population. We estimated the community incidence, hospitalization rate, and in-hospital case-fatality ratio (hCFR) of RSV-ARI in older adults, stratified by industrialized and developing regions, using data from a systematic review of studies published between January 1996 and April 2018 and 8 unpublished population-based studies. We applied these rate estimates to population estimates for 2015 to calculate the global and regional burdens in older adults with RSV-ARI in the community and in hospitals for that year. We estimated the number of in-hospital deaths due to RSV-ARI by combining hCFR data with hospital admission estimates from hospital-based studies. In 2015, there were about 1.5 million episodes (95% confidence interval [CI], .3 million-6.9 million) of RSV-ARI in older adults in industrialized countries (data for developing countries were missing), and of these, approximately 14.5% (214 000 episodes; 95% CI, 100 000-459 000) were admitted to hospitals. The global number of hospital admissions for RSV-ARI in older adults was estimated at 336 000 hospitalizations (uncertainty range [UR], 186 000-614 000). We further estimated about 14 000 in-hospital deaths (UR, 5000-50 000) related to RSV-ARI globally. The hospital admission rate and hCFR were higher for those aged ≥65 years than for those aged 50-64 years. The disease burden of RSV-ARI among older adults is substantial, with limited data from developing countries. Appropriate prevention and management strategies are needed to reduce this burden.

Original publication




Journal article


J Infect Dis

Publication Date





S577 - S583


Respiratory syncytial virus, acute respiratory infection, disease burden, older adults, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Cost of Illness, Databases, Factual, Developed Countries, Global Burden of Disease, Global Health, Hospitalization, Humans, Incidence, Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human