Nick Bread and Tom Saucedo
Respiratory syncytial virus enters your body through your eyes, nose or mouth. It spreads easily when infectious respiratory secretions — such as those from coughing or sneezing — are inhaled or passed to others through direct contact, such as shaking hands.
People who are at a high risk
- Infants younger than 6 months of age
- Younger children, especially under 1 year of age, who were born prematurely or who have an underlying condition, such as congenital heart or lung disease
- Children with weakened immune systems, such as those undergoing chemotherapy or transplantation
- Infants in crowded child care settings
- Older adults
- Adults with asthma, congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- People with certain transplanted organs, leukemia or HIV/AIDS
RSV begins in the nasopharynx. The virus then spreads to the small bronchiolar epithelium that lines the small airways within the lungs. Infection of the lower respiratory tract can lead to edema, increased mucous production, and necrosis of epithelial cells. These lead to small airway obstruction, air trapping, and increased airway resistance.