What is Respiratory Syncytial Virus?

HIV Virus

RSV is an enveloped single-strand linear RNA virus. People of any age can get an RSV infection, but symptoms are generally less severe in older patients. However, the virus is becoming an emerging pathogen among elderly and immunocompromised patients.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is one of the most common causes of childhood illness. RSV can live on toys and other hard surfaces for several hours. Every year, 75,000-125,000 children in the United States are admitted to the hospital for RSV infections. Researchers are working toward a vaccine, but none currently exists.

Recurrent infections with RSV are common. After exposure to the virus, symptoms will begin within four to six days. Patients are generally infectious for three to eight days, however some infants and people with weak immune symptoms can be contagious for as long as 28 days.


  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Wheezing
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • In very young infants-irritability, decreased activity, and breathing difficulties may be the only symptoms


Inhalation of aerosolized droplets, or contact with infected nasal and oral secretions can spread the virus. This includes kissing the face or mouth of a child with RSV. Infection can also result from touching a contaminated surface, then rubbing the eyes or nose. School age children may often spread the virus to the rest of the family.


  1. Wash your hands and avoid close contact with infected persons.
  2. Frequently clean common surfaces such as tables, cribs, door knobs, etc.


Be an advocate for your child. Don’t let symptoms of RSV go unchecked.  Schedule an appointment today.