Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is a respiratory viral illness with flu-like symptoms and is spread by coughing, sneezing, and direct contact. It is a common seasonal illness in the USA and has been especially problematic this year, surging at the same time as flu and COVID-19 (referred to a “tripledemic”). RSV mostly affects infants, children, and older adults.
According to a study, RSV infection comprises 4.66% of annual respiratory illnesses, and the number surges during its peak seasons of fall and winter. According to the CDC, RSV affects more than 2.1 million outpatients younger than five each year and leads to the hospitalization of 58,000-80,000 of these children.
Economic Burden of RSV Infections
According to a study, in the United States, hospitalization costs associated with adult RSV infections are estimated to be between one and five billion dollars annually. As respiratory viruses surge, more than three-fourths of pediatric hospital beds are occupied across the U.S. According to data from Health and Human Services, seventeen states have reported that more than 80% of pediatric beds are full.
As the number of infections increases, the burden on the healthcare system also increases. According to a study published in the Journal of Infectious Disease on August 15, 2022, the Mean cost per RSV hospitalization is $10,214 for infants and $11,973 for children aged 2-5 years.
According to this report, aggregate annual RSV hospitalization costs $471.8 million with infant RSV hospitalization alone costing up to $330 million. Infant RSV treatment costs around $709.6 million annually. Medicaid financed 61% of infant RSV hospitalizations. As a result, this surge is also an economic burden on low to medium-income families. One major reason reported for the high costs was the absence of routine testing of RSV, especially in ambulatory settings.
How RSV Antigen Test Reduces RSV Treatment Costs
The RSV antigen test kit allows healthcare workers to detect RSV in nasopharyngeal specimens rapidly and inexpensively. RSV testing is an effective tool to help prevent the spread of RSV in families and in the community at large.
In 2020, when RSV antigen tests were not commonly available, they were very helpful in lowering the hospitalization costs of infections. RSV early diagnosis lowered the treatment and hospitalization costs by 5%. Cost-benefit analysis suggests that the approach of testing followed by treating, compared to no testing or empirical therapy, is the most cost-effective strategy for respiratory infections. Timely diagnosis of RSV infections also helps prevent unnecessary antibiotic use.
RSV antigen test kits are now available for “professional use only” in both CLIA-waived and moderately complex lab settings. DrugTestKitUSA provides fast, easy-to-use, and affordable RSV antigen test kits with a sensitivity of up to 97%.
DrugTestKitUSA provides testing resources to both healthcare professionals and the community at large to test for RSV, FLU A&B, COVID-19 and drugs of abuse. We are all about public health, community and workplace safety.