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BACKGROUND: Influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection are common causes of lower respiratory tract illness. Data on their burden in low and middle-income settings and from Africa are scarce. We aimed to estimate age-specific rates of hospitalization attributable to influenza and RSV among patients attending private hospitals in South Africa during 2007-2012. METHODS: We estimated annual age-specific rates of influenza- and RSV-associated hospitalization (that is respiratory hospitalizations likely due to influenza or RSV infection) by applying regression models to monthly administrative hospitalization data from a national private hospital group, using influenza and RSV surveillance data as covariates. RESULTS: Estimated mean hospitalization rates associated with seasonal influenza were 75 (95% confidence interval (CI), 41-108) and 3 (95% CI, 2-5) per 100,000 person-years for all-respiratory and all-circulatory causes, respectively. Children <1 year and adults ≥75 years were the most affected, with influenza-associated all-respiratory hospitalization rates estimated at 255 (95% CI, 143-358) and 380 (95% CI, 227-506) per 100,000 person-years, respectively. Excess all-circulatory hospitalizations associated with seasonal influenza were only observed in adults ≥65 years. Annual hospitalization rates associated with RSV averaged an estimate of 223 (95% CI, 128-317) per 100,000 person-years for all-respiratory causes. Among children <1 year, RSV-associated all-respiratory hospitalization rate of 7,601 (95% CI, 4,312-10,817) per 100,000 person-years was estimated. CONCLUSIONS: Influenza and RSV substantially contributed to hospitalizations over the study period.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Infect Dis

Publication Date





Adolescent, Adult, Age Distribution, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Child, Child, Preschool, Female, Hospitalization, Hospitals, Private, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Influenza, Human, Male, Middle Aged, Regression Analysis, Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections, South Africa, Young Adult