Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which causes infection of the lungs and breathing passages, is a major cause of respiratory illness in young children.
About Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
Globally, the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the second most important cause of death during infancy. Annual RSV related deaths have been estimated at 253.000, accounting for up to 6.7% of the mortality of children aged <1 year. Of these deaths, 99% occur in developing countries. In addition to severe acute disease, RSV infection has been linked to an increased risk in the development of wheezing illness in later life.
RSV infections occur mostly in yearly epidemic outbreaks, during the winter months in temperate countries or during the rainy season in tropical countries.
In adults, RSV may only produce symptoms of a common cold, such as a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, mild headache, cough, fever, and a general feeling of being ill. Severe disease may occur in elderly with chronic heart or lung disease.
RSV is spread through direct contact. It can live on surfaces (such as counter tops or doorknobs) and on hands and clothing, so it can be easily spread when a person touches something contaminated.
RSV can spread rapidly through schools and childcare centers. Babies often get it when older siblings carry the virus home from school and pass it on to them. Almost all kids have been infected with RSV at least once by the time they are 2 years old.
RSV infections often occur in epidemics that last from late fall through early spring in Europe and the United States. In tropical areas of the world RSV epidemics often occur during the rainy season. Respiratory illness caused by RSV — such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia — usually lasts 1-2 weeks, but some cases may last several weeks.
Birth around the start of the RSV season is an important risk factor for severe course of disease in case of RSV infection.
By age 2, most children will have been infected with respiratory syncytial virus. Children who attend child care centers or who have siblings who attend day care are at a higher risk of exposure.
People at increased risk of severe — sometimes life-threatening — infections include:
But if a child requires hospital admissions or has severe co-morbidity, a doctor might want to make a specific diagnosis of viral etiology; in that case, RSV is identified in nasal secretions.
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) on nasal aspirations is most sensitive. During infancy, PCR on mucus obtained by a swab also has high sensitivity. Direct immuno fluorescence only has sufficient sensitivity (>90%) in infants hospitalized for RSV infection.
There is no specific treatment for children with RSV infection. A monthly injection with palivizumab, a monoclonal against the RSV F glycoprotein, during the RSV season prevents RSV-related hopital admission in children with congenital heart disease and preterm children with gestational age <= 35 weeks.
Supportive care consists of:
RSV GOLD is an online accessible database containing information on individual RSV-related mortality cases. Health care providers and researchers from all over the world are encouraged to share cases of children dying from RSV infection.
These confidential and anonymous data will be used to understand clinical and socio-economic characteristics of children dying from RSV infection and to determine the worldwide age distribution of these children.
Click the link below to go to the RSV GOLD database website.
We are open to collaborate in any RSV related research activity varying from advice to the necessary multidisciplinary engagements and clinical networks eventually necessary to develop the project.
We are very interested to collaborate in designing and performing clinical trials on RSV therapeutics that are aimed at decreasing the RSV burden/decreasing disease severity and saving young lives especially in developing countries.
Please contact us for possibilities.