There is limited information on respiratory syncytial virus infections among Australians, particularly those of Indigenous descent.Aim
This study identifies groups of infants at risk of hospitalisation with respiratory syncytial virus-positive lower respiratory tract infection who may be targeted for prevention with palivizumab.Methods
Case control study: the case notes of 271 children with cases of respiratory syncytial virus-positive lower respiratory tract infection admitted to The Townsville Hospital were studied for risk factors. Controls were chosen randomly from babies born in The Townsville Hospital during that period. Multiple logistic regression analysis and classification and regression tree analysis were used to identify risk factors.Results
Multiple logistic regression analysis identified birthweight <2500 g, maternal parity and marital status to be independent predictors of hospitalisation with respiratory syncytial virus-positive lower respiratory tract infection. Classification and regression tree analysis identified babies born weighing <2500 g who possessed older siblings to be at highest risk. Single mothers and smoking were additional risk factors. Indigenous babies were significantly more likely to be exposed to all of the identified risk factors.Conclusion
Babies born weighing <2500 g (especially with siblings) could be targeted for prevention. All Indigenous babies should be considered at high risk because of their exposure to multiple risk factors.