Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Original article

Vol. 151 No. 3536 (2021)

Interseasonal RSV infections in Switzerland – rapid establishment of a clinician-led national reporting system (RSV EpiCH)

  • Alix L. von Hammerstein
  • Christoph Aebi
  • Florence Barbey
  • Christoph Berger
  • Michael Buettcher
  • Carmen Casaulta
  • Adrian Egli
  • Mathias Gebauer
  • Beatrice Guerra
  • Christian Kahlert
  • Eva Kellner
  • Lisa Kottanattu
  • Onya Opota
  • Christian Mann
  • Patrick Meyer Sauteur
  • Margherita Plebani
  • Nicole Ritz
  • Chiara Testi
  • Valentin von Niederhäusern
  • Noemie Wagner
  • Petra Zimmermann
  • Franziska Zucol
  • Philipp K. A. Agyeman
  • Johannes Trück
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w30057


In anticipation of an interseasonal respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) epidemic, a clinician-led reporting system was rapidly established to capture RSV infections in Swiss hospitals, starting in January 2021. Here, we present details of the reporting system and first results to June 2021. An unusual epidemiology was observed with an interseasonal surge of RSV infections associated with COVID-19-related non-pharmacological interventions. These data allowed real-time adjustment of RSV prophylaxis guidelines and consequently underscore the need for and continuation of systematic nationwide RSV surveillance.


  1. Hall CB, Weinberg GA, Iwane MK, Blumkin AK, Edwards KM, Staat MA, et al. The burden of respiratory syncytial virus infection in young children. N Engl J Med. 2009 Feb;360(6):588–98.
  2. Shi T, McAllister DA, O’Brien KL, Simoes EA, Madhi SA, Gessner BD, et al.; RSV Global Epidemiology Network. Global, regional, and national disease burden estimates of acute lower respiratory infections due to respiratory syncytial virus in young children in 2015: a systematic review and modelling study. Lancet. 2017 Sep;390(10098):946–58.
  3. Chadha M, Hirve S, Bancej C, Barr I, Baumeister E, Caetano B, et al.; WHO RSV Surveillance Group. Human respiratory syncytial virus and influenza seasonality patterns-Early findings from the WHO global respiratory syncytial virus surveillance. Influenza Other Respir Viruses. 2020 Nov;14(6):638–46.
  4. Agha R, Avner JR. Delayed Seasonal RSV Surge Observed During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Pediatrics. 2021 Sep;148(3):e2021052089.
  5. Foley DA, Yeoh DK, Minney-Smith CA, Martin AC, Mace AO, Sikazwe CT, et al. The Interseasonal Resurgence of Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Australian Children Following the Reduction of Coronavirus Disease 2019-Related Public Health Measures. Clin Infect Dis. 2021 Feb;ciaa1906.
  6. van Summeren J, Meijer A, Aspelund G, Casalegno JS, Erna G, Hoang U, et al.; VRS study group in Lyon. Low levels of respiratory syncytial virus activity in Europe during the 2020/21 season: what can we expect in the coming summer and autumn/winter? Euro Surveill. 2021 Jul;26(29).
  7. Van Brusselen D, De Troeyer K, Ter Haar E, Vander Auwera A, Poschet K, Van Nuijs S, et al. Bronchiolitis in COVID-19 times: a nearly absent disease? Eur J Pediatr. 2021 Jun;180(6):1969–73.
  8. Casalegno JS, Ploin D, Cantais A, Masson E, Bard E, Valette M, et al.; VRS study group in Lyon. Characteristics of the delayed respiratory syncytial virus epidemic, 2020/2021, Rhône Loire, France. Euro Surveill. 2021 Jul;26(29).
  9. Weinberger Opek M, Yeshayahu Y, Glatman-Freedman A, Kaufman Z, Sorek N, Brosh-Nissimov T. Delayed respiratory syncytial virus epidemic in children after relaxation of COVID-19 physical distancing measures, Ashdod, Israel, 2021. Euro Surveill. 2021 Jul;26(29).
  10. England PH. National flu and COVID-19 surveillance reports: 2021 to 2022 season. 2021 26th of August 2021 [cited 2021 31st of August]; Available from:
  11. Mollers M, Barnadas C, Broberg EK, Penttinen P, Teirlinck AC, Fischer TK ; European Influenza Surveillance Network. Current practices for respiratory syncytial virus surveillance across the EU/EEA Member States, 2017. Euro Surveill. 2019 Oct;24(40).
  12. Teirlinck AC, Broberg EK, Berg AS, Campbell H, Reeves RM, Carnahan A, et al. Recommendations for respiratory syncytial virus surveillance at national level. Eur Respir J. 2021 Apr;2003766.
  13. ECDC. Surveillance Atlas of Infectious Disease. 2021 [cited 2021 15th July]; Dataset provided by ECDC based on data provided by WHO and Ministries of Health from the affected countries]. Available from:
  14. Team RC. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. 2021, R Foundation for Statistical Computing.
  15. Duppenthaler A, Gorgievski-Hrisoho M, Frey U, Aebi C. Two-year periodicity of respiratory syncytial virus epidemics in Switzerland. Infection. 2003 Mar;31(2):75–80.
  16. Baker RE, Park SW, Yang W, Vecchi GA, Metcalf CJ, Grenfell BT. The impact of COVID-19 nonpharmaceutical interventions on the future dynamics of endemic infections. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2020 Dec;117(48):30547–53.
  17. Agyeman P. Barazzone-Argiroffo C, Hammer J, Heininger U, Nadal D, Pfammatter J, et al. Konsensus Statement zur Prävention von Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)-Infektionen mit dem humanisierten monoklonalen Antikörper Palivizumab (Synagis): Update 2016. Paediatrica. 2017;28:13–5.
  18. Taylor RS. Respiratory syncytial virus and palivizumab prophylaxis in the COVID-19 era. CMAJ. 2021 Apr;193(15):E523.
  19. Agyeman P. Trück. J. Epidemiologie von RSV Infektionen. 2021 [cited 2021 July 15]; Pädiatrie Schweiz: Available from:

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 4 5 > >>