Background: Lower respiratory tract infections are a leading cause of hospitalization and mortality among children worldwide. Our objective was to describe the incidence and epidemiology of severe bronchiolitis, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and pneumonia among children in Hawaii.
Methods: Retrospective analysis of the patient-linked hospital discharge data associated with bronchiolitis, RSV, and pneumonia among Hawaii residents younger than 5 years of age during 1997 through 2004 using the Hawaii State Inpatient Database.
Results: During 1997 through 2004, the average annual incidence rates for bronchiolitis, RSV, and pneumonia were 3.8, 2.7, and 6.8 per 1000 children younger than 5 years, respectively. The incidence of each condition was higher for infants younger than 1 year (15.1, 9.8, and 15.9 per 1000 infants, respectively) than the incidence for children 1–4 years of age, and higher for boys compared with girls. The incidence of each condition was highest among Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander children compared with children of other race groups living in Hawaii. Most hospitalizations occurred during the months of October through February. Estimated median hospital charges were $4806 (bronchiolitis), $5465 (RSV) and $5240 (pneumonia), with overall average annual charges of $11.5 million.
Conclusion: The incidence and hospitalization rates for bronchiolitis, RSV, and pneumonia among children younger than 5 years of age in Hawaii were low; the corresponding hospitalization rates were lower than those for the general U.S. population. However, the hospitalization rates for each condition among Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander children were much higher than those for other race groups or for the U.S. population.