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Freebase Commons Common /common

  • Human respiratory syncytial virus is a virus that causes respiratory tract infections. It is a major cause of lower respiratory tract infections and hospital visits during infancy and childhood. A prophylactic medication exists for preterm infants, infants with certain congenital heart defects or bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and infants with congenital malformations of the airway. Treatment is limited to supportive care, including oxygen therapy. In temperate climates there is an annual epidemic during the winter months. In tropical climates, infection is most common during the rainy season. In the United States, 60% of infants are infected during their first RSV season, and nearly all children will have been infected with the virus by 2–3 years of age. Of those infected with RSV, 2–3% will develop bronchiolitis, necessitating hospitalization. Natural infection with RSV induces protective immunity which wanes over time—possibly more so than other respiratory viral infections—and thus people can be infected multiple times. Sometimes an infant can become symptomatically infected more than once, even within a single RSV season.

Freebase Commons Biology /biology

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