Abstract

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has been reported to cause severe morbidity and mortality among cancer patients receiving chemotherapy together with or without autologous/allogeneic stem cell transplantation (APBSCT), but there have been few reports describing the outcome of RSV infection specifically among pediatric oncology patients. Between February 20 – April 15, 2006, among 15 pediatric patients hospitalized for various oncologic diseases and post-BMT problems, 7 patients developed progressive cough and/or dyspnea. A survey of respiratory viruses was done using direct immunofluorescent antibody assay. Three patients (two high-risk patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia receiving induction or consolidation chemotherapy, one under treatment for chronic GvHD postBMT) were found positive for RSV (20%). The remaining patients with respiratory symptoms were followed-up for RSV infection, but remained negative during all surveys. Three patients and the sister of the boy with hyper-IgM syndrome, who was also transplanted for hyper-IgM syndrome and under treatment for chronic GvHD and pneumonia, in the same room with her brother, were all treated with IVIG and specific antiviral therapy, oral Ribavirin (20–25 mg/kg/day in three doses). All patients recovered fully, although two were retreated due to recurrent RSV positivity and respiratory symptoms within two weeks. In striking contrast with the outcome of RSV infection in adult oncology patients, the mortality associated with RSV infection in pediatric oncology patients even in postBMT period, is very low and can easily be treated with IVIG and oral Ribavirin, used effectively because of unavailability of other forms (iv or nebulized forms) in our country, if diagnosed and treated early enough. It is even possible to give the scheduled anti-neoplastic therapy for not being delayed.

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

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