High burden of RSV hospitalizations in Germany 2021–2022 (July 2022)*

Infection 181(10) – DOI:10.1007/s15010-022-01889-6

Public health measures implemented to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the worldwide transmission of endemic respiratory viruses such as RSV, as well as other typical, seasonal, and viral respiratory pathogens. Methods From October 18, 2021 to March 31, 2022, RSV cases admitted to German pediatric hospitals were monitored via a newly established, national, Clinician-Led Reporting System (CLRS) that recorded patient age and type of respiratory support. A subanalysis of the first 4 months of the monitoring period was additionally performed. Results In October 2021, a total of 471 hospitalized pediatric RSV cases per day were documented by 67 reporting hospitals. By January 2022, this number dropped to three cases at 11 hospitals (median of reporting hospitals: 37 (11%)). During these months, the median of hospitalized children on general wards and intensive care units was 133 and 15, respectively. In the subanalysis conducted to examine the period October to January, an average of 3.6 ± 2.2 patients per hospital per day were hospitalized on general wards (median 4 cases; range 0.3–8 cases), whereas 0.4 ± 2.2 patients were on intensive care units (median 0.3 cases; range 0–0.9 cases), with 11.5% receiving respiratory support. The majority of patients were under 2 years old. The overall burden of out-of-season RSV cases was extraordinarily high in Germany in 2021–2022. The newly established CLRS may help evaluate and, therefore, better allocate local and national pediatric care resources.

* This journal article provides analysis of data gleaned from DGPI registries.