Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an enveloped paramyxovirus that causes annual outbreaks during the wintertime, from late fall to early spring 

-It is the major cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in infants under 1 year of age

-It also causes upper and lower respiratory tract infection in adults

-Reinfections occur frequently throughout life and into older age.

-It is spread primarily by large droplets and fomites.

Symptoms & Signs 

Low-grade fever, tachypnea, wheezes, rhinorrhea, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, dyspnea,  hyperexpansion of the lungs, hypoxemia and hypercapnia


-This can be done by viral culture, antigen detection, nucleic acid amplification, or serology

-Interstitial infiltrates may be seen on chest radiography

-RSV causes syncytium formation in cell cultures 


-RSV infection usually is self-limited

-Supportive care: hydration, humidification of inspired air, ventilatory support 

-Pharmacotherapy is not routinely recommended

-Palivizumab prophylaxis in patients with congenital heart disease, pulmonary dysplasia, Down syndrome 

-Ribavirin is teratogenic and should be avoided in pregnant women 

-No vaccine is available for RSV