Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is increasingly becoming an important cause of respiratory infections in adults, especially those living in long-term care facilities (LTCFs). Seasonal outbreaks peaking from October to April are common. We report an outbreak of RSV involving 2 LTCFs with total capacity of 80 beds in 2019.
Retrospective chart review of cases identified with positive RSV infection via DNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from January 24 to February 24, 2019, at 2 LTCF units, in close proximity to each other, at Northport Affairs Medical Center.
Twenty veterans (18 men and 2 women) tested positive for RSV by rapid PCR. The median age was 73 (47–89) years, 85% are Caucasian, and 5 patients had temperature of greater than 100°F (100°F–102.4°F). All had rhinorrhea and 65% had cough. Medical history shows 45% with dementia, 30% with stroke, and 35% with diabetes; 2 patients on hemodialysis; and 2 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Four patients required hospitalization, and 2 of them required admission to intensive care unit. Length of stay ranged from 1 to 9 days. One patient with COPD required mechanical ventilation. One patient with computed tomography finding of airway impaction had antibiotics stopped by infectious diseases consult, yet he developed Clostridium difficile diarrhea. No deaths were observed, and all patients recovered. Aggressive infection control measures were implemented.
Respiratory syncytial virus is highly infectious and can easily cause an outbreak in an LTCF. Polymerase chain reaction testing was contributory to identify cases rapidly. Rapid PCR results and intensified infection control measures were instrumental to halt the outbreak.