Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

What is Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)?

What is Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)?

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a highly contagious pathogen that causes symptoms such as decreased appetite, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, shortness of breath, and fever, generally appearing within four to six days of infection. In infants and young children, symptoms may include breathing problems, irritability, and decreased appetite. The most vulnerable to RSV infection are infants, young children and the elderly(1).

RSV is a virus belonging to the Pneumovirus genus, of the Paramyxoviridae family. It contains 11 proteins encoded by the unsegmented RSV genome, making it incapable of antigenically modifying itself to cause significant pandemics. Although new genotypes may emerge, older strains do not disappear, allowing old and new strains to coexist and circulate simultaneously for long periods(2).

It is divided into two subgroups, A and B, with subgroup A considered slightly more virulent than B. The distinction between the two groups is based on the reaction of the main surface proteins: the G protein, which helps the virus to adhere to the cells of airways, and the F protein, which facilitates entry into infected cells^(3). Both subgroups can circulate simultaneously, but usually one of the two predominates(4).

Most RSV infections clear up within one to two weeks without the need for treatment. However, complications such as pneumonia or bronchiolitis can arise which may require hospitalization. By age two, most children have already contracted RSV but it is possible to become reinfected several times throughout their life(5-6). In adults, symptoms are usually those of a mild respiratory illness, such as cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever, and general malaise(7).

The virus generally begins circulating in the fall and peaks during the winter months in the United States and countries with similar climates, although seasonality may vary from year to year(8).

IMPORTANT NOTE: Corvelva invites you to get in-depth information by reading all the sections and links, as well as the manufacturer's product leaflets and technical data sheets, and to speak with one or more trusted professionals before deciding to vaccinate yourself or your child. This information is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.

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