BACKGROUND: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an important cause of respiratory illness worldwide, however, burden data on mother-infant pairs remain sparse in sub-Saharan Africa where HIV is prevalent. We evaluated the impact of maternal HIV infection on the burden of RSV among mothers and their infants in western Kenya.
METHODS: We enrolled pregnant women (≤20 weeks gestation) and followed them and their newborns weekly for up to 3-6 months post-partum, to document cases of acute respiratory illness (ARI). Nasal/ oropharyngeal swabs were collected and tested for RSV using polymerase chain reaction. Analyses were stratified by maternal HIV-status, and incidence computed per 1,000 person-months.
RESULTS: Compared to RSV-negative ARI cases, RSV-positive cases were associated with cough, apnoea and hospitalization among infants. RSV incidence per 1,000 person-months among mothers was 4.0 (95% confidence interval (CI), 3.2-4.4), and was twice that among the HIV-infected (8.4; 95% CI, 5.7-12.0) compared to the HIV-uninfected mothers (3.1; 95% CI 2.3-4.0). Among infants, incidence per 1,000 person-months was 15.4 (95% CI, 12.5-18.8); incidence did not differ by HIV exposure or prematurity.
CONCLUSION: HIV-infection may increase the risk of RSV illness among pregnant women. Future maternal RSV vaccines may have added benefit in high HIV prevalence areas.