Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is a common viral infection that primarily affects the respiratory system. It belongs to the paramyxovirus family and is highly contagious. It can be transmitted through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. The virus can survive on surfaces for several hours, making it easy to spread in crowded places such as daycare centers or schools.
The symptoms can vary depending on the age and overall health of the individual. In healthy adults and older children, it typically presents as a mild cold with symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, sore throat, and low-grade fever. These symptoms usually resolve within a week or two. However, in infants and older adults, it can lead to more severe complications.
In infants, RSV can cause symptoms such as a persistent cough, rapid breathing, wheezing, irritability, and poor feeding. It is important to note that infants may not always present with typical cold symptoms, and their symptoms can progress rapidly. If your child is experiencing any respiratory distress, it is crucial to seek medical attention.
While anyone can contract Respiratory Syncytial Virus, certain groups of people are more susceptible to severe infections. Infants under the age of one, especially premature babies, are at the highest risk. Their immune systems are still developing, making it harder for them to fight off the virus. Older adults, particularly those with underlying health conditions, are also more vulnerable to severe RSV infections.
Other risk factors for severe Respiratory Syncytial Virus infections include:
Healthcare providers may perform a physical examination and inquire about the patient’s symptoms and medical history. In some cases, a nasal swab or throat swab may be taken to test for the presence of the virus. Rapid diagnostic tests are available in some healthcare settings, providing quick results. However, these tests may not always be accurate and may require additional confirmatory testing.
The FDA has approved two vaccines for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Vaccine, , f
For Individuals 60 Years of Age and Older, Arexvy is available to combat infections and severe symptoms of RSV . The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Arexvy, the first respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine approved for use in the United States. Arexvy is approved for the prevention of lower respiratory tract disease caused by RSV in individuals 60 years of age and older.
The Food and Drug administration has also approved nirsevimab (Beyfortus) for all babies up to 8 months old who are about to enter their first RSV season and for infants between 8 and 19 months who are at high risk of severe infection due to things like being born premature, having a congenital heart condition or chronic lung problems.
Older adults, in particular those with underlying health conditions, such as heart or lung disease or weakened immune systems, are at high risk for severe disease caused by RSV,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “Today’s approval of the first RSV vaccine is an important public health achievement to prevent a disease which can be life-threatening and reflects the FDA’s continued commitment to facilitating the development of safe and effective vaccines for use in the United States.
Toddlers and Infants up to 19 months old can also be vaccinated for RSV if they are at risk of more severe infections and symptoms.