Raising Awareness of RSV

April 6, 2016

Causes of Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is caused by a virus and spread when a human with the disorder coughs or sneezes.

Individuals at RISK of severe RSV:

  • Infants
  • Young Children (especially when born prematurely or with weakened immune systems)
  • Older Adults (especially those with asthma, congestive heart failure, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • People with immunodeficiency
Big image

Pathophysiology of RSV

Limited to the respiratory tract. Usually RSV is found in the lower respiratory tract of children and sometimes manifests as the clinical entity of bronchiolitis. When in the upper respiratory tract the virus occurs in respiratory epithelial cells.

Manifestations (Signs and Symptoms):

  • Fever (typically low-grade)
  • Cough
  • Tachypnea
  • Cyanosis
  • Retractions
  • Wheezing
  • Rales

Complications of RSV

Possible complications include hospitalization, pneumonia or bronchiolitis, middle ear infection, asthma, and/or recurring infections.


Generally involves self-care measures. The doctor may recommend over-the-counter medicine such as acetaminophen to reduce fever. If there is a bacterial complication, then an antibiotic will also be prescribed.

In severe cases, hospital care may be necessary for receiving intravenous (IV) fluids and humidified oxygen. A breathing machine may also be hooked up to the individual infected to ease breathing.