Risk factors and patterns of household clusters of respiratory viruses in rural Nepal

E. M. Scott, A. Magaret, J. Kuypers, J. M. Tielsch, J. Katz, S. K. Khatry, L. Stewart, L. Shrestha, S. C. LeClerq, J. A. Englund, H. Y. Chu

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Viral pneumonia is an important cause of death and morbidity among infants worldwide. Transmission of non-influenza respiratory viruses in households can inform preventative interventions and has not been well-characterised in South Asia. From April 2011 to April 2012, household members of pregnant women enrolled in a randomised trial of influenza vaccine in rural Nepal were surveyed weekly for respiratory illness until 180 days after birth. Nasal swabs were tested by polymerase chain reaction for respiratory viruses in symptomatic individuals. A transmission event was defined as a secondary case of the same virus within 14 days of initial infection within a household. From 555 households, 825 initial viral illness episodes occurred, resulting in 79 transmission events. The overall incidence of transmission was 1.14 events per 100 person-weeks. Risk of transmission incidence was associated with an index case age 1-4 years (incidence rate ratio (IRR) 2.35; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.40-3.96), coinfection as initial infection (IRR 1.94; 95% CI 1.05-3.61) and no electricity in household (IRR 2.70; 95% CI 1.41-5.00). Preventive interventions targeting preschool-age children in households in resource-limited settings may decrease the risk of transmission to vulnerable household members, such as young infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e288
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
StatePublished - 14 Oct 2019


  • Household transmission
  • molecular epidemiology
  • respiratory syncytial virus
  • respiratory viruses
  • rhinovirus


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