USMLE

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

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Viruses - RNA Viruses
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Summary

RSV is a paramyxovirus that can cause bronchitis and bronchiolitis in young infants. It’s especially dangerous in the winter time, when the cold further weakens the immune system. To treat an RSV infection, clinicians can administer either palivizumab or ribavirin.

Key Points

  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and Human metapneumovirus (hMPV)
    • Transmission        
      • Respiratory droplets
    • Presentation
      • bronchitis/bronchiolitis in infants
    • Diagnosis
      • RT-PCR is standard
    • Treatment
      • Primarily supportive
        • Palivizumab may be used
          • Monoclonal antibody against F protein
          • Prevents pneumonia by RSV infection in premature infants
        • Ribavirin may be used
          • Nucleoside antimetabolite that interferes with viral genetic replication