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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > RSV Infection: Prevention & Expectations
      Category : Health Centers > Respiratory System (Lungs and Breathing)

RSV Infection

Alternate Names : Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection

RSV Infection | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What can be done to prevent the infection?

Avoiding those who are sick may prevent some cases. Frequent hand washing may also help prevent some cases. Children in day care centers are more likely to acquire RSV infection because of the constant exposure to other children who may have the infection.

RSV is most common from late fall through early spring of each year. Children who have chronic disease, immune disorders, or a history of prematurity may have a monthly shot of palivizumab during RSV season to help prevent serious infection. This medication is made up of proteins that can prevent infection for a limited period of time. It is used only in children who are at high risk of having severe problems if they do get infected with RSV.

Most cases of RSV cannot be prevented. A routine vaccine may be available soon.

What are the long-term effects of the infection?

RSV accounts for as many as 125,000 hospitalizations of children under the age of one every year. Up to 2% of these children may die from the infection or its complications. If a person requires a ventilator to help with breathing, the severe infection as well as the ventilator can cause permanent damage to the lungs.

Most people, however, recover completely from RSV and have no long-term effects. Children who develop breathing problems because of RSV may have a slightly increased likelihood of developing asthma later in life.

What are the risks to others?

RSV is highly contagious. When an outbreak of RSV occurs, up to 50% of the infants in a community may be affected.

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RSV Infection: Diagnosis & Tests


RSV Infection: Treatment & Monitoring

Author: Adam Brochert, MD
Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
Date Reviewed: 07/06/01

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