Health care–associated viral respiratory infections (HA-VRIs) were common in two pediatric hospitals, with rhinovirus the most frequent cause of the infections in a 3-year analysis.

The incidence rate of laboratory-confirmed HA-VRIs was 1.29/1,000 patient-days in an examination of the hospitals’ patient data. Forty-eight percent of all 323 HA-VRI cases were caused by rhinovirus, with an overall incidence rate of 0.72/1,000 patient-days. Additionally, rhinovirus was the most frequently identified virus in cases of HA-VRI in all units of both hospitals, followed by parainfluenza virus and respiratory syncytial virus. An exception was the medical/surgical ward of Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center (CCMC) of New York; in this unit of the CCMC, the incidence rate of parainfluenza virus was higher than that of rhinovirus (0.21/1,000 patient-days vs. 0.15/1,000 patient-days) ( J Ped Inf Dis. 2016. doi: 10.1093/jpids/piw072 ).

The researchers used infection prevention and control surveillance databases from Montreal Children’s Hospital (MCH) in Quebec and the CCMC to identify HA-VRIs that occurred between April 1, 2010, and March 31, 2013, In both hospitals, HAIs were attributed to the unit to which the patient was admitted at the time of transmission. Both hospitals used a multiplex nucleic acid amplification test for respiratory virus detection on nasopharyngeal swabs or aspirates.

“An HA-VRI with an onset of symptoms after hospital discharge would be detected and included only for patients who presented to the emergency department or were readmitted for VRI and tested,” according to Caroline Quach , MD, of the Montreal Children’s Hospital, McGill University Health Centre, Quebec, and her colleagues.

The HA-VRI rate was 1.91/1,000 patient-days at Montreal Children’s Hospital, compared with 0.80/1,000 patient-days at the CCMC (P less than .0001). At the CCMC, the HA-VRI incidence rate was lowest in the neonatal ICU, but at Montgomery Children’s Hospital, the hematology/oncology ward had the lowest rate of HA-VRI.

Having less than 50% single rooms in a given unit was associated with a statistically significantly higher rate of HA-VRI, after the investigators adjusted for unit type and took the correlation of HA-VRI rates within a hospital into consideration. The study authors’ model predicted that units with less than 50% single rooms have 1.33 times higher HA-VRI rates than units with at least 50% single rooms, regardless of unit type.

Dr. Quach has received funding from GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Sage, and AbbVie for an unrelated research project, while the other authors disclosed no financial relationships.