Flu and RSV Increase Demand for Antibiotics and Antivirals for Influenza and Respiratory syncytial virus Pandemics in U.S. Military Veterans, 2006–2008
The purpose of this study is to examine the role that seasonal influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) play in the demand for the use of antibiotics and antivirals for US military veterans during wartime. A secondary purpose is to examine the relative contributions of seasonal influenza and RSV to the demand for these drugs during the annual flu and RSV seasons in U.S. military veterans.
We performed a retrospective cohort study using administrative health care data from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare Database (HD), a database that captures detailed outpatient and hospital care data from all VA healthcare facilities throughout the US.
From 2006 to 2008, the annual influenza and RSV hospitalization rates increased significantly (both p <.001) for active duty military (ADM) and veteran patients during the peak seasons of both RSV and influenza: the RSV season was between December and January in the northern hemisphere and September and October in the southern hemisphere and the influenza season was between April and June in the northern hemisphere and September and October in the southern hemisphere (Figure 1).
The estimated RSV-ADM RSV hospitalization rates were significantly higher during the peak epidemiologic season for ADM compared with the RSV season (1.4 vs. 0.6 hospitalizations per 1,000 patient days for ADM and 0.1 vs. 0.2 hospitalizations per 1,000 patient days for RSV, respectively) (Figure 2, Table 1). RSV-ADM hospitalization rates increased significantly (both p <.001) throughout the peak RSV season compared with the influenza season (Figure 2, Table 1). In contrast, the influenza-ADM rates were higher throughout the influenza season (0.4 vs. 0.1 in the influenza season) (Figure 2, Table 1). ADM hospitalization rates were higher for the peak influenza season than the peak RSV season (1.5 vs. 0.2 hospitalizations per 1,000 patient days for the peak influenza year and 0.7 vs. 0.2 in the peak RSV year, respectively) (Table 2).
The estimated influenza-ADM rates were significantly higher during the peak influenza season compared with