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Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Context:

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the first vaccine that protects newborns from Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

Relevance:

GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
  2. Transmission
  3. Prevention

About Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that affects people of all ages.
  • It is a significant cause of childhood illness and can lead to more severe infections in certain populations.
Symptoms:
  • RSV infection usually starts with symptoms appearing 4 to 6 days after infection.
  • Common symptoms include a runny nose, decreased appetite, cough, sneezing, fever, and wheezing.
Severity:
  • RSV usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms in healthy individuals.
  • However, it can lead to more severe infections in specific groups, including premature infants, babies younger than 6 months old, older adults, and individuals with compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions.
Complications:
  • In severe cases, RSV can lead to complications such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis.
  • Bronchiolitis involves inflammation of the small airways in the lungs.
  • Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs.

Transmission:

  • RSV spreads from person to person through the air via coughing and sneezing.
  • Direct contact, such as kissing the face of an infected person, can also transmit the virus.
  • Touching surfaces with the virus and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes can lead to infection.
  • People infected with RSV can be contagious for 3 to 8 days, and infants and those with weakened immune systems may remain contagious for up to 4 weeks.
Risk Groups:
  • Premature infants, young babies, older adults, and individuals with certain health conditions are at a higher risk of severe RSV infection.
Prevention:
  • Practicing good hygiene, such as frequent handwashing, can help prevent the spread of RSV.
  • In severe cases, hospitalization may be required, especially for infants and high-risk individuals.
  • Awareness and Early Detection:
  • Recognizing the symptoms and seeking medical attention early can help in managing RSV infections, especially in high-risk individuals.

-Source: Live Mint


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