Respiratory Syncytial Virus

(RSV)

Definition

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common cause of many types of infections of the respiratory system. The term respiratory system refers to the lungs and breathing passages. These infections include:These infections are common. They are usually most severe in infants, young children, and older people. However, these infections can happen at any age. In severe cases, RSV infections can cause death.
Respiratory System Anatomy of an Infant
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Causes

RSV is spread through infected fluids in the mouth and nose. The virus most often enters the body from touching the mouth, nose, or eyes. It can also be spread by inhaling droplets from a sneeze or cough.RSV is spreads easily. It can survive on surfaces and objects for hours. It is easily passed from person to person. Virus shedding usually lasts for 3-8 days, but may last for up to 4 weeks.

Risk Factors

RSV is more common in infants and young children, especially under 2 years old. Other factors that may increase your chance of RSV include:
  • Exposure to a person infected with the virus or an object contaminated with the virus
  • Premature birth of an infant
  • Problems with the heart, lungs, or immune system
  • Current or recent use of chemotherapy
  • Previous organ or bone marrow transplant
  • Problems associated with muscle weakness

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