respiratory syncytial virus

Last reviewed 01/2018

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a RNA virus of Paramyxoviridae family within the Pneumovirus genus (1).

  • it is an important pathogen causing respiratory tract illness
    • in children younger than 2 years -  lower respiratory  tract infections (e.g., bronchiolitis, pneumonia)
      • can be severe in infants who are at increased risk of acute lower respiratory tract infection
      • RSV is best known for causing bronchiolitis in infants (1)
    • in older children and young adults - upper respiratory tract infections
    • a severe lower respiratory tract disease with pneumonitis may develop in the elderly, in institutionalised adults, and in immunocompromised individuals. (2)

Previous infection may only confer partial immunity to RSV and hence individuals may be infected repeatedly with the same or different strains of RSV (1).