Continuous Invasion by Respiratory Viruses Observed in Rural Households During a Respiratory Syncytial Virus Seasonal Outbreak in Coastal Kenya

Munywoki PK, Koech DC, Agoti CN, Cane PA, Medley GF, Nokes DJ
Clin Infect Dis. 2018;67

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Background: Households are high-intensity close-contact environments favorable for transmission of respiratory viruses, yet little is known for low-income settings. Methods: Active surveillance was completed on 47 households in rural coastal Kenya over 6 months during a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) season. Nasopharyngeal swabs (NPSs) were taken from 483 household members twice weekly irrespective of symptoms. Using molecular diagnostics, NPSs from 6 households were screened for 15 respiratory viruses and the remainder of households only for the most frequent viruses observed: rhinovirus (RV), human coronavirus (HCoV; comprising strains 229E, OC43, and NL63), adenovirus (AdV), and RSV (A and B). Results: Of 16928 NPSs tested for the common viruses, 4259 (25.2%) were positive for >/=1 target; 596 (13.8%) had coinfections. Detection frequencies were 10.5% RV (1780), 7.5% HCoV (1274), 7.3% AdV (1232), and 3.2% RSV (537). On average, each household and individual had 6 and 3 different viruses detected over the study period, respectively. Rhinovirus and HCoV were detected in all the 47 households while AdV and RSV were detected in 45 (95.7%) and 40 (85.1%) households, respectively. The individual risk of infection over the 6-month period was 93.4%, 80.1%, 71.6%, 61.5%, and 37.1% for any virus, RV, HCoV, AdV, and RSV, respectively. NPSs collected during symptomatic days and from younger age groups had higher prevalence of virus detection relative to respective counterparts. RSV was underrepresented in households relative to hospital admission data. Conclusions: In this household setting, respiratory virus infections and associated illness are ubiquitous. Future studies should address the health and economic implications of these observations.