Transmission patterns and evolution of RSV in a community outbreak

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading viral cause of infant pneumonia and bronchiolitis worldwide. In this study we analysed full genomic information of RSV strains circulating in 9 households in the Kilifi community, coastal Kenya, during an epidemic period.

The study aimed to inform on the transmission and spread patterns of RSV within households and the Kilifi community in general to uncover new avenues for infection control . We showed that genome analysis is a superior tool for tracking the relatedness, evolution, spread and transmission of RSV infection relative to either partial genome analysis or use of case information data alone .

Viruses that were identified from different members of the same household were more closely related in most outbreaks supporting the notion that members commonly acquire RSV infection within their household. This has implications for future control of RSV and other respiratory infections.

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