Respiratory Syncytial Virus

RSV is a very contagious virus and the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia in children younger than age one in the U.S.  Almost all children are infected with the virus by their second birthday, but only a small percentage of children develop severe illness. RSV can infect you several times during your lifetime. After each RSV infection, your body becomes more immune to the virus, but you are never completely immune.

RSV passes from person to person like a cold virus—when someone with RSV coughs or sneezes, droplets travel through the air to others nearby or land on surfaces that others will touch. It can enter your body when you touch your eyes or nose after touching RSV germs.

Young children, especially those born prematurely, are most at risk for RSV. RSV can be prevented through basic steps and being protective of infants.