respiratory virus Prevention


viral pneumonia Viral Pneumonia


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Respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus, or RSV, is a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing. Most healthy people recover from RSV infections is typically 1 or 2 weeks. However, infection can be severe in some people, such as infants, young children and older adults. In fact, RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis which is inflammation of the small airways in the lung . . . and pneumonia in children under 1-year in US. In addition, RSV is more often being recognized as an important cause of respiratory illness in older adults.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a contagious viral disease that can lead to serious health problems especially for young children and older adults.

Fast Facts

Almost all children will be infected with RSV by their second birthday.
RSV causes respiratory illness in infants and young children, is most important cause of bronchiolitis.
In the US, RSV infections generally occur during fall, winter and early spring.

Infection and Incidence

RSV can cause upper respiratory infections . . . such as colds and lower respiratory tract infections . . . such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia. In children under 1-year, RSV is the most important cause of bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the small airways in the lung.

Almost all children will have had an RSV infection by their 2nd birthday. When infants and children are exposed to RSV for the first time, 25% to 40% of them have signs or symptoms of bronchiolitis or pneumonia, and 0.5% to 2% will require hospitalization. Most children hospitalized for RSV infection are under 6-months.

Infants and children infected with RSV usually show symptoms within 4 to 6 days of infection. Most will recover in 1 to 2 weeks. However, even after recovery, infants and children can continue to spread the virus for 1 to 3 weeks.

People of any age can get another RSV, but later infections are generally less severe. The elderly and adults with chronic heart or lung disease or with immune systems weakened by medical conditions or treatments remain at high risk for developing severe RSV disease if re infected.

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In temperate climates, RSV infections generally occur during fall, winter and early spring. The timing and severity of RSV circulation in a given community can vary from year to year.

Visits to a health care provider for an RSV infection are very common. During such visits, the health care provider will assess the severity of disease to determine if the patient should be hospitalized. In the most severe cases of disease, infants may require supplemental oxygen, suctioning of mucus from the airways, or intubation which is having breathing tubes inserted - with mechanical ventilation.

Symptoms and Care

There is no specific treatment for RSV infection.

Illness usually begins 4 to 6 days after exposure (range: 2 to 8 days) with a runny nose and decrease in appetite. Coughing, sneezing, and fever typically develop 1 to 3 days later. Wheezing may also occur. In very young infants, irritability, decreased activity, and breathing difficulties may be the only symptoms of infection. Most otherwise healthy infants infected with RSV do not require hospitalization. In most cases, including among those who need to be hospitalized, full recovery from illness occurs in about 1 to 2 weeks.

Visits to a healthcare provider for an RSV infection are very common. During such visits, the health care provider will assess the severity of disease to determine if the patient should be hospitalized.

In the most severe cases of disease, infants may require supplemental oxygen, suctioning of mucus from the airways, or intubation.