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Use of palivizumab to control an outbreak of syncytial respiratory virus in a neonatal intensive care unit



Use of palivizumab to control an outbreak of syncytial respiratory virus in a neonatal intensive care unit



Journal of Hospital Infection 58(1): 38-41



To evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a humanized respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) monoclonal antibody (palivizumab) to control an outbreak of RSV in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), we retrospectively analysed two RSV outbreaks. Between 11 November 1998 and 18 March 1999, two separate RSV outbreaks occurred in a large (26 beds) NICU. All procedures for preventing nosocomial spread of RSV (including the use of palivizumab in the second outbreak) were retrospectively analysed. The cumulative incidence (CI), secondary attack rate (SAR) and risk ratio of infection were determined before and after the use of palivizumab for all patients and for those with gestational age below and above 32 weeks in the NICU during the second outbreak. Standard infection control measures were effective in the first outbreak (three cases). In the second outbreak, after three index cases, five additional infants were newly RSV-infected within one month. Three infants had RSV pneumonia and required mechanical ventilation; one infant died. Standard infection control procedures were initiated from the beginning of this outbreak. Palivizumab was given to all infants in the NICU after the fifth case was identified. CI was 2.4% in the first 15 days and 10.5% in the second, and SAR was 2.9 per thousand in the first 15 days and 14.1 per thousand in the second, both dropping to zero after the administration of palivizumab. The risk ratio of infection was 4.65 times higher in infants under 32 weeks gestational age. After the use of palivizumab, there were no additional identified cases. In addition to careful infection control procedures, the use of palivizumab might have contributed to arresting the outbreak of RSV infection in the NICU, suggesting that it could be an additional resource in the control of severe nosocomial RSV outbreaks.

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Accession: 012729008

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 15350712

DOI: 10.1016/j.jhin.2004.04.024


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