RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus)

What is RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus)

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that typically causes mild, cold-like symptoms.  Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults.  RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States.

CDC surveillance has shown an increase in RSV cases and RSV-associated emergency department visits and hospitalizations in multiple US regions, with some regions nearing seasonal peak levels. 

What are the symptoms and how to care for persons who have RSV?

RSV symptoms include: 1) runny nose, 2) decrease in appetite, 3) coughing, 4) sneezing, 5) fever and 6) wheezing.  These symptoms occur in stages and usually do not occur all at once. 

For more information on the symptoms and care, click the CDC link below.

How is RSV transmitted?

RSV is transmitted like many other transmittable diseases.  It is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes and virus particles land in your eyes, nose or mouth.  It is spread when you have direct contact like kissing the face of a young child who has RSV.  It can also be spread if you touch a surface that has virus on it and you touch your face before washing your hands.

For more information on RSV transmission, click the CDC link below.

How to prevent RSV?

Prevent RSV using actions used to prevent the spread of other transmittable diseases.  Remember to stay home when you are sick, wash your hands often, avoid close contact with others and clean frequently touched items.

There are 2 new RSV vaccines for persons 60yo and older.  Those persons should discuss the vaccine with their healthcare provider as a part of shared clinical decision–making to determine if they should receive the vaccine based on their health history, values, preferences and their health care provider’s clinical discretion.

For more information on prevention, click on the CDC link below.