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Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is the most common cause of respiratory tract infection in infants and children and shows increasing trend among elderly people worldwide. In many developing country settings, population and household structures have gone through some significant changes in the past decades, namely fewer births, more elderly population, and smaller household size but more RSV high-risk individuals. These dynamics have been captured in a mathematical model with RSV transmission dynamics to predict the disease burden on the detailed population for future targeted interventions. The population and disease dynamics model was constructed and tested against the hospitalization data for Acute Lower Respiratory Tract Infection due to RSV in rural Thai settings between 2005 and 2011. The proportion of extended families is predicted to increase by about 10% from 2005 to 2020, especially for those with elderly population, while the classic nuclear family type (with adults and children) will decline by about 10%. For RSV, infections from extended family type (approximately 60% of all household types) have majorly contributed to the force of infection (FOI). While the model predicted the increase of FOI from the extended family by 15% from 2005 to 2020, the FOI contributed by other household types would be either stable or decrease in the same time period. RSV incidence rate is predominantly high among babies (92.2%) and has been predicted to decrease slightly over time (from 940 to 864 cases per 100,000 population by 2020), while the incidence rates among children and elderly people may remain steadily low over the same period. However, the estimated incidence rates among elderly people were twice than those in children. The model predicts that approximately 60% of FOI for RSV will come from members of the extended family type. The incidence rate of RSV among children and elderly in extended families was about 20 times lower than that in infants and the trend is steady. Targeted intervention strategies, such as health education in some specific groups and targeted vaccination, may be considered, with the focus on extended family type. Target interventions on babies can lessen the transmission to children and elderly especially when transmission within households of extended family type is high.

Original publication




Journal article


PloS one

Publication Date





Department of Tropical Hygiene, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.


Humans, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human, Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections, Hospitalization, Incidence, Seasons, Models, Theoretical, History, 21st Century, Adolescent, Adult, Middle Aged, Child, Child, Preschool, Thailand, Female, Male, Young Adult