Acute Respiratory Tract Infection in Daycare Centers for Older Persons

A. R. Falsey, R. M. McCann, W. J. Hall, M. A. Tanner, M. M. Criddle, M. A. Formica, C. S. Irvine, J. E. Kolassa, W. H. Barker, J. J. Treanor

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103 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the rate of specific pathogens and clinical syndromes associated with acute respiratory tract infections (ARTI) in frail older persons attending daycare. DESIGN: Prospective descriptive study, without intervention. SETTING: Two sites of a senior daycare program providing all‐inclusive care for the older persons in Rochester, New York. PARTICIPANTS: Staff members and participants of the daycare. MEASUREMENTS: Demographic, medical, and physical findings were collected from older subjects at baseline and while ill with respiratory illnesses. Nasopharyngeal specimens for viral and Chlamydia culture and sputum for bacterial culture were obtained from subjects when ill. Acute and convalescent sera were also collected with each illness and examined for viral, chlamydial, and mycoplasma infection. MAIN RESULTS: One hundred sixty‐five illnesses were documented in 165 older daycare participants as well as 113 illnesses among 67 staff members during the 15‐month study. The rate of ARTI in the elderly group was 10.8 per 100 person months. The most common etiologies in both the staff and elderly participants were respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Influenza A, and coronavirus. The etiologies of illnesses in the staff compared with those in elderly group were similar except that bacterial infections were significantly more common among the elderly (7% vs. 0, P = 0.05). Multiple pathogens were found to cocirculate within centers, and no clear outbreak of a predominant organism was noted. Cough and nasal congestion characterized most illnesses. The elderly experienced significantly more cough, dyspnea, and sputum production than did the staff. There were 10 hospitalizations related to respiratory infections and four deaths during the acute illness among the elderly group and none in staff. CONCLUSIONS: Acute respiratory infections are a common occurrence in both the staff and participants of a senior daycare center and are the cause of substantial morbidity in frail older persons. 1995 The American Geriatrics Society

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-36
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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