Clinical presentation and birth outcomes associated with respiratory syncytial virus infection in pregnancy

Helen Y. Chu, Joanne Katz, James Tielsch, Subarna K. Khatry, Laxman Shrestha, Steven C. LeClerq, Amalia Magaret, Jane Kuypers, Mark C. Steinhoff, Janet A. Englund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most important cause of viral pneumonia in children worldwide. A maternal vaccine may protect both the mother and infant from RSV illness. The epidemiology and clinical presentation of RSV in pregnant and postpartum women is not well-described. Methods Data were collected from a prospective, randomized trial of influenza immunization in pregnant women in rural southern Nepal. Women were enrolled in their second trimester of pregnancy and followed until six months postpartum. Active weekly home-based surveillance for febrile respiratory illness was performed. Mid-nasal swabs collected with episodes of respiratory illness were tested for RSV by real-time polymerase chain reaction. Results RSV was detected in 14 (0.4%) illness episodes in 3693 women over 3554 person-years of surveillance from 2011–2014. RSV incidence was 3.9/1000 person-years overall, and 11.8/ 1000 person-years between September and December. Seven (50%) women sought care for RSV illness; none died. Of the 7 (50%) illness episodes during pregnancy, all had live births with 2 (29%) preterm births and a median birthweight of 3060 grams. This compares to 469 (13%) preterm births and a median birthweight of 2790 grams in women without RSV during pregnancy. Of the 7 mothers with postpartum RSV infection, RSV was detected in 4 (57%) of their infants. Conclusions RSV was an uncommon cause of febrile respiratory illness in mothers during pregnancy in Nepal. These data will inform prevention and therapeutic strategies against RSV in resource-limited settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0152015
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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