Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a highly contagious virus that causes an infection with symptoms similar to those of a moderate to severe cold. RSV infection usually resolves on its own and does not cause major health concerns, but it can become a problem when it is severe or leads to pneumonia, bronchiolitis, or other complications.

Babies (especially those born prematurely or with heart or lung problems), people with immune system problems, and adults age 65 and older have an increased risk of developing complications from RSV infection.

Although reinfection with RSV is common throughout life, the first infection usually causes the most severe symptoms. Almost all children become infected with RSV by the age of 2 years.

Last Updated: July 16, 2008

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.