Changes in Bronchiolitis Incidence During the Last Two Decades in Tampere, Finland: A Retrospective Study

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Background: Bronchiolitis, a lower respiratory tract infection, causes a remarkable number of hospitalizations globally. The epidemiology follows the same pattern as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the most common pathogen in bronchiolitis. Epidemics have typically followed a biannual pattern in Nordic countries - first, a small epidemic during spring, followed by a higher peak the next autumn. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the incidence of bronchiolitis hospitalization has changed during the last 2 decades in Tampere, Finland. Methods: In this retrospective register-based study, data on infants <12 months of age hospitalized with bronchiolitis in 2000-2019 were collected from electronic files of Tampere University Hospital and analyzed by monthly incidences. Additionally, data on RSV incidences were collected from the Finnish National Infectious Diseases Register for children <5 years of age and living in the study area. Poisson's regression analysis was used to evaluate changes in the incidence rates of bronchiolitis. Results: Of the 1481 infants hospitalized with bronchiolitis, 82.0% had a diagnosis of RSV bronchiolitis. At first, bronchiolitis' epidemiological pattern followed its typical biannual pattern, then shifted to annual in the middle of the study period, and thereafter occurred biannually again. The highest incidence rate ratios compared to the low-incidence months were between December (22.5), January (25.8) and February (25.5) in 2000-2006, and between February (24.7), March (25.1) and April (21.0) in 2007-2019. Conclusions: The epidemiological pattern of bronchiolitis changed during the study period; incidence peaks were higher and have shifted toward spring in recent years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867-871
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Bronchiolitis
  • epidemiology
  • incidence
  • infant
  • respiratory syncytial virus

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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