Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV, causes infections of the lungs and respiratory tract. It’s so common that most children will be infected with the virus by age 2. The virus usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms and most people recover in a week or two. RSV can be serious, however, especially for infants and older adults.


HRSV spreads easily by direct contact, and can remain viable for a half an hour or more on hands or for up to 5 hours on countertops. Childcare facilities allow for rapid child-to-child transmission in a short period of time. The incubation period is typically between two and four days.


Signs and symptoms of RSV infection manifest about four to six days after exposure to the virus. Common cold-like symptoms are most frequently reported. These include:

  • Congested or runny nose
  • Dry cough
  • Low-grade fever
  • Sore throat
  • Mild headache
  • Fever

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