Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the most common cause of lower respiratory tract infections in infants and young children can be transferred during pregnancy to an unborn baby.
This is according to Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital research published online this week in the journal PLOS ONE.
In animal models, the study shows that RSV is able to spread across the placenta from the respiratory tract of the mother to the fetus and is present in the lungs after birth, throughout development and into adulthood. RSV is considered the primary cause of infant pneumonia and has been implicated in the development of asthma.
Research was completed in an animal model, in which rats were inoculated with RSV during midterm pregnancy. Of those infected, RSV was found in 30 percent of fetuses, as well as in the lungs of 40 percent of newborns and 25 percent of those that reached adulthood.
Dr. Piedimonte has been the principal investigator or co-investigator of more than 30 research projects, and has authored and co-authored more than 250 journal articles, book chapters, monographs, editorials and abstracts. He holds 17 international patents and is frequently invited to speak nationally and internationally.