Respiratory syncytial virus infection

Respiratory syncytial virus infection

A subgroup of the myxoviruses resembling paramyxovirus causes respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection. RSV is the leading cause of lower respiratory tract infections in infants and young
children; it’s the major cause of pneumonia, tracheobronchitis, and bronchiolitis in this age-group and a suspected cause of the fatal respiratory diseases of infancy.

Each year, 125,000 infants are hospitalized with severe RSV; between 1% and 2% die. RSV also causes repeated infections throughout life, usually associated with moderate-to-severe coldlike symptoms, and may predispose a child to asthma. Severe lower respiratory tract disease can occur, especially among elderly people and those with compromised cardiac, pulmonary, or immune systems.


Antibody titers seem to indicate that few children younger than age 4 escape contracting some form of RSV, even if it’s mild. In fact, RSV is the only viral disease that has its maximum impact during the first few months of life (incidence of RSV bronchiolitis peaks at age 2 months).

This virus creates annual epidemics that occur during late winter and early spring in temperate climates and during the rainy season in the tropics. The organism is transmitted from person to person by respiratory secretions and has an incubation period of 4 to 5 days. Those at higher risk include infants who are exposed to tobacco smoke, attend day-care centers, live in crowded conditions, or have school-age siblings.

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Jun 16, 2016 | Posted by in GENERAL & FAMILY MEDICINE | Comments Off on Respiratory syncytial virus infection

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