Last Updated on Nov 23, 2018

What is Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)?

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common and very contagious, respiratory virus that causes infection of the lungs and breathing passages. RSV is a major cause of lower respiratory tract infections in young children.

Though RSV mostly affects children before two years of age, it can also infect adults.

RSV usually causes a mild, cold like sickness and most babies and young children recover in one to two weeks. However, it can be more serious in babies born prematurely, babies with congenital heart defect, young children whose immune systems are weakened due to disease or medications.

In these high-risk groups, the RSV infection moves down into the lungs causing serious conditions such as acute bronchiolitis and pneumonia.


  1. About RSV - (
  2. American Thoracic Society- Patient Education - (
  3. Center for disease control and prevention - Respiratory syncytial virus, infection - (
  4. American Academy of Pediatrics- Respiratory syncytial virus - (
  5. American Lung Association-Lung Health and Diseases - (
  6. Antiviral Immune Responses and Lung Inflammation after Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection- Peter J. M. Openshaw - (

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