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BACKGROUND: Low awareness and lack of routine testing for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections among adults has led to underreporting in hospital records. This study aimed to assess the underreporting and misclassification of RSV infections among adults hospitalized with an respiratory tract infection (RTI)-coded hospitalization. METHODS: This study is an observational cohort study of RSV-associated hospitalizations among Danish adults (≥18 years old) conducted, between 2015 to 2018. Data were extracted from the Danish National Patient Registry (DNPR) and the Danish Microbiology Database. We identified RSV-positive hospitalizations by linking RTI-coded hospitalizations with a positive RSV test. RESULTS: Using hospital admission registries, we identified 440 RSV-coded hospitalizations, of whom 420 (95%) had a positive RSV test registered. By linking patients with RTI-coded hospital admissions to RSV test result, we found 570 additional episodes of RSV-positive hospitalizations without an RSV-coded diagnosis. CONCLUSIONS: Our study of national register data showed that RSV is underreported among Danish adults. The study showed that the reliability of hospitalization data to estimate the burden of RSV among adults is questionable and are sensitive to changes in practice over time, even with complete nationwide healthcare data. Healthcare data can be useful to observe seasonality but to estimate the disease burden, prospective surveillance is recommended.

Original publication




Journal article


J Infect Dis

Publication Date





S78 - S83


adults, disease burden, respiratory infections, respiratory syncytial virus, underdiagnosis, Adult, Humans, Adolescent, Prospective Studies, Reproducibility of Results, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human, Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections, Respiratory Tract Infections, Hospitalization, Denmark