What You Should Know About RSV
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Although RSV is the most common cause of respiratory tract infection in children under five years of age, most people are unfamiliar with the disease. RSV can be particularly serious in infants born prematurely, children under the age of two suffering from chronic lung conditions, and young children with hemodynamically significant congenital heart disease. Multiples are also at increased risk for serious RSV disease. (1)
Virtually all children are exposed to the virus during the first two years of life and re-infection throughout life is very common. (2) Infants born at less than 36 weeks gestational age are at asignificantly elevated risk for severe RSV disease.
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year, up to 125,000 children are hospitalized with serious RSV disease and some of these children may die from RSV complications. (3)
For otherwise healthy children, RSV usually amounts to little more than a cold. However, for preemies and other at-risk infants, the health consequences can be much more serious. In the US, approximately 125,000 children are hospitalized each year with serious RSV disease and sadly, some of these children die.
RSV spreads easily from person to person via respiratory secretions. The chance of spreading the virus within a family is very high. Many times school-aged children introduce the virus into the family. Despite strict infection control procedures, hospital nursery units, day care centers and other similar institutions are also at high-risk for RSV outbreaks.
To help protect your baby, there are simple steps that parents and caregivers can take:
Avoid being around the baby if you have a cold or fever
Avoid exposing the baby to other children with cold symptoms
Keep the baby away from crowded places
Never smoke around the baby
Talk to your baby’s pediatrician about RSV risks and prevention
If you, or someone you know needs assistance in paying for medication to help prevent RSV, see our list of Preemie Financial and Insurance resources and RSV FAQ #9. If you have any additional questions about RSV contact PreemieCare at (631) 859-1110 or email us.
1 Committee on Infectious Disease and Committee on Fetus and Newborn. Preventions of respiratory syncytial virus infections: Indications for the use of palivizumab and update on the use of RSV-IGIV. Pediatrics. 1998; 102(5); 1211-1216.
2 Glezen WP et al. Am J Dis Child. 1986;140:543.
3 Shay, DK, Holman, RC, Roosevelt, GE et el. J. Infec. Dis. 2001;183;16-22.
RSV Tracking System
Find up-to-date information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about RSV outbreaks by state, region, or the entire US.
What is RSV? What are the symptoms? What can I do to prevent it?
What is RSV Informational Video from
St. Louis Children's Hospital's
SLCH has a new two-minute informational video about the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). In addition to identifying signs and symptoms of RSV, the video includes prevention tips and other information.
Sample letter to friends and family explaining the risks associated with preemies and RSV (PDF)
PreemieCare/MOST RSV Campaigns
Read about MOST's campaign to promote RSV awareness.
See videos of both doctors and mothers talk about RSV and their experiences.
Learn more about Preemies
If Lungs Were Trees
Pediatric Pulmonologist, Dr. Alan Cohen, compares the lungs of preterm infants to full term infants
A Preemie's Letter to Mom & Dad
A premature infant reviews his first year.
RSV & Synagis Parent Brochure
Learn more about MedImmune (maker of Synagis)
This Virus Season, Safeguard Your Preemie’s Lung Health: Highlights of National Telephone Press Briefing
Video interview about RSV and Synagis with
Michael Marcus, MD Director Pediatric Allergy & Pulmonary - Maimonides Medical Center August 8, 2010
An Overview Of RSV by Kelli Shidler, MD February 12,2010
er 28, 2007
What's Going Around in Kansas by Jemelle Holopirek December 27, 2007
RSV Going Around December 27, 2010
RSV: Cold-like virus easily spread November15, 2011
Preventing RSV by
Vincent Iannelli, M.D. October 2, 2007
Holiday Peak in Pulmonary Admissions is Linked to Social Gatherings September 17, 2007
Flu Season Subsides While Incidence of the Most Common and Lethal
Children's Respiratory Virus Continues to Rise January
Outside Websites with Information on RSV and Preemies:
Useful information for parents and pediatricians that will help identify
and protect high-risk infants from RSV disease, funded by MedImmune
Meriter Website - Information on Preemies
A comprehensive website for parents of premature babies. Includes
information on statistics, birth, NICU, care, what to expect (now
and in the future), and more
RSV Prevention Tips
About.com's comprehensive information page on RSV with tips for parents on how to prevent the spread of RSV as well as an extensive list of RSV resources.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: RSV page
The CDC's RSV page offers FAQs, and information on Infection and Incidence, Symptoms and Care, Transmission and Prevention, Clincal Description and Diagnosis, Laboratory Testing, Prophylaxis and High Risk Groups, References and Resources, as well as related Research and Surveillance links.