A pair of national surveys – one of parents with children who had RSV and one of health care providers who regularly treat infants and young children with the virus – reveal the disease’s burden extends beyond immediate symptoms, to include serious financial challenges, strained marriages and relationships and mental health concerns. Reported by the Alliance for Patient Access and the National Coalition for Infant Health, the findings highlight a clear need for preventive interventions and greater disease awareness.

The parent survey polled 340 parents who have had a child sick with RSV. The provider survey polled 175 health care providers who treat infants and young children who contract the virus.

Key Findings – Parents Survey:

  • 67% of parents said their child was hospitalized with RSV.
  • More than two-thirds of parents said the costs posed a financial burden or financial crisis for their family.
  • 68% of parents said watching their child suffer affected their mental health.
  • 43% of parents had never heard of RSV before finding out their child was sick.

Key Findings – Health Care Provider Survey:

  • 86% of providers said they include RSV education as part of routine care.
  • 99% of providers agreed that parents need more information about the disease.
  • 48% of providers said it was difficult to decide whether to send an infant or child with RSV to the emergency room.
  • Nearly one-third of providers have been reluctant to test for RSV because no treatment exists.

Both parents and providers overwhelmingly agreed that immunizations and vaccine-like interventions could help to minimize the burden of RSV. 92% of providers agreed that if an immunization were available it should be added to the Vaccines for Children program. 92% also agreed that policy should ensure all babies and children get access to future immunizations or preventive interventions for RSV.

About RSV

  • RSV is a highly contagious seasonal virus impacting the airways and lungs.
  • For infants and young children, it can be very serious.
  • The virus is the leading cause of hospitalization for infants younger than age one in the United States.
  • Nearly 58,000 infants and young children are hospitalized because of RSV each year.
  • RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children under age one.
  • Infants younger than one are 16 times more likely to be hospitalized for this virus than for the flu.

[Source(s): Alliance for Patient Access, PR Newswire]