Clinical Characterization of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection in Adults: A Neglected Disease?

Cassia F. Estofolete, Cecília A. Banho, Alice T. Verro, Flora A. Gandolfi, Bárbara F. dos Santos, Livia Sacchetto, Beatriz de C. Marques, Nikos Vasilakis, Maurício L. Nogueira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lower respiratory tract infections (LRIs) are a significant cause of disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) across all age groups, especially in children under 9 years of age, and adults over 75. The main causative agents are viruses, such as influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Viral LRIs in adults have historically received less attention. This study investigated the incidence of RSV and influenza in adult patients admitted to a referral hospital, as well as the clinical profile of these infections. Molecular testing was conducted on nasopharyngeal samples taken from a respiratory surveillance cohort comprising adult (15–59 years) and elderly (60+ years) hospitalized patients who tested negative for SARS-CoV-2, to determine the prevalence for influenza and RSV. Influenza was found to be less frequent among the elderly. The main symptoms of RSV infections were cough, fever, dyspnea, malaise, and respiratory distress, while headache, nasal congestion, a sore throat, and myalgia were most frequent in influenza. Elderly patients with RSV were not found to have more severe illness than adults under age 60, underscoring the importance of providing the same care to adults with this viral infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1848
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • influenza A virus
  • influenza B virus
  • respiratory syncytial virus
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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