Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV: Symptoms, Signs, Prevention, Treatment
Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus also called as RSV is responsible for causing infection of the respiratory system. It is one of the main reasons for hospitalizations in infants and children due to respiratory system infections. This infection spreads annually in temperate zones in the winters whereas in the tropical zones this spreads in the rainy season. In USA, about 50% of infants are infected with this virus in their first year of life itself and as much as all children at least once have been infected by this virus by the time they are three years of age. There are some cases in children suffering from RSV where they have developed bronchial infection and needed to be hospitalized. Severe infections have also been found in young adults with symptoms resembling that of a common cold. RSV belongs to the virus family of Paramyxoviridae. This family also includes viruses that cause mumps and measles.
Signs and Symptoms of Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV
The time when a person gets infected with this virus and the time when the actual symptoms start is between four to five days. In the case of adults, RSV symptoms are only mild and sometimes cannot even be distinguished from the symptoms of common cold. RSV is the most common cause of inflammation of the airway in the lungs and pneumonia in children under a year of age. This generally occurs in patients with a compromised immune system or premature babies. Other common symptoms of RSV in children are restlessness, loss of appetite, and fever.
How Does Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV Spread?
This virus spreads generally by contact. Its spread is quite common in childcare facilities.
Prevention of Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV
As this virus is present in almost all the parts of the world, avoidance of this virus is not possible. At present, there is no vaccination available for its prevention. However, there is a prophylactic medication called Synagis, which is given in the form of injections just before the start of the RSV season and continued till the season ends.
How Is Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV Diagnosed?
RSV can be definitively diagnosed using Direct Fluorescent Antibody Detection.
Treatment of Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV
Researchers have found that nebulized hypertonic saline can be used for the treatment of RSV. Supportive care with fluids and oxygen is given until the virus is eliminated from the body.