Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a viral organism that can cause upper and lower respiratory tract infections. It commonly causes bronchiolitis (inflammation of the lower airways) and pneumonia in children and infants. In the United States, RSV is more common during the winter and spring months.
For most children and infants, RSV infections can be managed on an outpatient basis. However, about 0.5 percent to 2 percent of children and infants who develop RSV may require hospitalization.
The disease usually runs its course in one to two weeks. Children who are at risk for developing more severe cases of RSV include:
- Children / infants younger than 1 year, particularly those between 6 weeks and 6 months
- Premature infants
- Children / infants with breathing or heart problems
- Children / infants with weakened immune systems