Palivizumab and Respiratory Syncytial Virus Immune Globulin Intravenous (RSV-IGIV) are licensed by the Food and Drug Administration for use in preventing severe lower respiratory tract infections caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in high-risk infants, children younger than 24 months with chronic lung disease (formerly called bronchopulmonary dysplasia), and certain preterm infants. This statement provides revised recommendations for administering RSV prophylaxis to infants and children with congenital heart disease, for identifying infants with a history of preterm birth and chronic lung disease who are most likely to benefit from immunoprophylaxis, and for reducing the risk of RSV exposure and infection in high-risk children. On the basis of results of a recently completed clinical trial, prophylaxis with palivizumab is appropriate for infants and young children with hemodynamically significant congenital heart disease. RSV-IGIV should not be used in children with hemodynamically significant heart disease. Palivizumab is preferred for most high-risk infants and children because of ease of intramuscular administration. Monthly administration of palivizumab during the RSV season results in a 45% to 55% decrease in the rate of hospitalization attributable to RSV. Because of the large number of infants born after 32 to 35 weeks’ gestation and because of the high cost, immunoprophylaxis should be considered for this category of preterm infants only if 2 or more risk factors are present. High-risk infants should not attend child care during the RSV season when feasible, and exposure to tobacco smoke should be eliminated.

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