Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Respiratory Syncytial Virus


What is Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)?
RSV causes infections of the upper respiratory tract (like a cold) and the lower respiratory tract (like pneumonia). It is the most frequent cause of lower respiratory infections, including pneumonia, in infants and children under two years of age. Most children get RSV in the first year of life. In most children, symptoms are similar to a mild cold. However, an RSV infection can range from very mild to life threatening. Children with heart, lung or immune system disorders are at increased risk of complications.

How is it spread?
RSV is spread through direct and indirect contact with respiratory secretions of infected individuals. Direct contact occurs when a person breathes in the respiratory droplets that are in the air after an infected person coughs or sneezes. Indirect contact occurs when a person touches any surface or item contaminated with the respiratory secretions of someone with RSV.

How is it treated?
Treatment of mild infection is aimed at relief of symptoms and rest. More severe disease may require specialized therapy.

How can we prevent RSV?
  • The most effective measure is frequent handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Do not share drinking glasses or eating utensils.
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sometimes fever and wheezing