DOI: 10.2500/aap.2024.45.230089 ISSN: 1088-5412

Addressing global health disparities in the management of RSV infection in infants and children: Strategies for preventing bronchiolitis and post-bronchiolitis recurrent wheezing

Giuliana Ferrante, Giorgio Piacentini, Michele Piazza, Attilio L. Boner, Joseph A. Bellanti
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • General Medicine
  • Immunology and Allergy

Background: The topic of equitable access to health care and its impact on exacerbating worldwide inequities in child health not only strikes at the heart of our health-care delivery systems but also deeply resonates with our collective social consciences. Nowhere is this better seen on a global scale than in the burden of illness caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, which extracts the most severe morbidity and mortality in infants and children in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). This report addresses global health disparities that exist in the management of RSV infection in infants and children, and offers strategies for preventing bronchiolitis and postbronchiolitis recurrent wheezing in LMICs. Methods: A systematic literature review was conducted across the PubMed data bases of RSV infection and the socioeconomic impact of bronchiolitis and postbronchiolitis recurrent wheezing in LMICs. Results: The results of the present study address the many issues that deal with the question if prevention of RSV bronchiolitis can mitigate recurrent wheezing episodes and links RSV risks, downstream effects, prevention, malnutrition, and socioeconomic restraints of developing countries with a call for possible global action. Conclusion: The present study stresses the importance of considering the linkage between malnutrition and disease susceptibility because of the known relationships between undernutrition and greater vulnerability to infectious diseases, including RSV infection. These complex interactions between infectious disease and undernutrition also raise issues on the longer-term sequelae of postbronchiolitis recurrent wheezing. This prompts a discussion on whether industrialized countries should prioritize the provision of newly developed monoclonal antibodies and RSV vaccines to LMICs or whether vital nutritional needs should be a first focus. The resolution of these issues will require research and greater international discourse.

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