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Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Class: Paramyxoviruses
Genome: RNA Virus, Negative ssRNA Virus Structure: Enveloped Virus
  • Like all Paramyxoviruses, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) initially infects cells of the upper respiratory tract. In some individuals the virus spreads contiguously to the lower respiratory tract; however, viremic dissemination does not appear to occur. Epidemiologically, infections of RSV is highly seasonal with most cases occurring in the winter months.
Clinical Consequences
  • RSV infection may never come to attention; however, the virus a common and serious cause lower respiratory disease in infants usually less than 1yo. RSV is the most common cause of community-acquired pneumonia in infants and can be rapidly life-threatening without treatment.
  • Treatment of severely infected infants is with ribavirin although it is not highly effective.