Risk of Transmission and Viral Shedding From the Time of Infection for Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Households

Hirono Otomaru, Johanna Beulah T. Sornillo, Taro Kamigaki, Samantha Louise P. Bado, Michiko Okamoto, Mariko Saito-Obata, Marianette T. Inobaya, Edelwisa Segubre-Mercado, Portia P. Alday, Mayuko Saito, Veronica L. Tallo, Beatriz P. Quiambao, Hitoshi Oshitani, Alex R. Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a leading cause of lower respiratory tract infection worldwide, but reports of temporal changes in the risk of transmission among close contacts has been scarce. This study aimed to examine an association between the viral load trajectory and transmission risk to develop a better control strategy for the disease spread. We conducted a household-based prospective cohort study in Biliran Province, the Philippines, and enrolled 451 participants to observe the development of acute respiratory infection. Including the cases found at the health-care facility, we analyzed the data of viral loads with symptom records obtained from 172 followed participants who had household member positive for RSV with a rapid test during an RSV outbreak in 2018-2019. We developed a model estimating a temporal change in the viral shedding from the infection and evaluated transmission dynamics. We found that most transmission events occurred within approximately 7 days of the household exposure, including potential presymptomatic transmissions. The inferred risk of infection among those younger than 5 years was 3.5 times higher than that of those older than 5 years. This finding suggested that the initial week after the household exposure is particularly important for preventing RSV spread.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2536-2543
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec 1


  • infectious disease transmission
  • mathematical model
  • respiratory syncytial virus
  • viral load

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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