Alternate Names : Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection
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
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.