Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a highly contagious virus that primarily affects the respiratory system. It is a leading cause of lower respiratory tract infections in infants and young children, and is responsible for significant morbidity and mortality worldwide.
Symptoms of RSV in children typically include fever, runny nose, cough, and difficulty breathing. In some cases, the virus can lead to more severe complications such as bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lungs) and pneumonia. Children under the age of 2, as well as those with underlying medical conditions such as premature birth, heart or lung disease, are at a higher risk of developing severe illness from RSV.
RSV is primarily spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and can also be spread by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth.
There is no specific treatment for RSV, and most children recover without complications. However, some children may require hospitalization for supportive care, such as oxygen therapy or mechanical ventilation.
Prevention measures include:
Washing hands frequently
Avoiding close contact with people who have RSV or other respiratory infections
Keeping children away from daycare or school when they are sick
Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces
There is a prophylactic antibody (Palivizumab) which is used for high risk groups of children, under the age of 24 months and born prematurely.
It is important to seek medical attention if a child is showing signs of severe illness, such as difficulty breathing, rapid breathing, or cyanosis (bluish color around the mouth or fingers).