RSV can significantly harm long-term health in adults over 50, Mayo study finds

Adults over 50 who contract respiratory syncytial virus are at a more serious risk for long-term health effects, according to a study published in JAMA Jan. 20, led by Mayo Clinic physicians Young Juhn, MD, Chung Wi, MD, and Paul Takahashi, MD.

The research collected data from 2,326 participants over the course of two RSV seasons between 2019 and 2021. Due to its timing aligning with the pandemic, the physicians suggest the study may be the first of its kind to assess "the incidence of RSV-positive ARI before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and the short- and long term outcomes of RSV-positive ARI in adults 50 years or older in the United States."

Their extensive research revealed that RSV-positive acute respiratory infections were found to be "associated with significant long-term impacts on health-related [quality of life] beyond the acute infection in adults over 50."  

Importantly, the results of the study pointed out that the significant effects on long-term quality of life after RSV infection were independent of other factors such as race, sex and ethnicity. 

In their conclusion, the physicians suggested that further research into "an effective RSV vaccine might be an important measure to mitigate the impact of RSV-positive ARI, especially in older adults."


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