Respiratory Syncytial Virus - RSV

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is one of the most common agents of upper and lower respiratory illnesses in infants and children worldwide. RSV typically occurs during the late fall, winter, and spring months and is generally self-limiting. Those infected may present with mild, coldlike symptoms that are clinically indistinguishable from those of other viral respiratory infections.   However, RSV can also manifest as severe infections such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia and is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in young children, older adults, and immunocompromised patients. The CDC estimates over 225,000 hospitalizations yearly among children and older adults combined.    Routine laboratory testing for RSV is not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics because treatment is supportive only, and diagnosis does not change the management of disease for most patients ; however, laboratory testing may be warranted to confirm RSV infection in high-risk groups if the result will inform clinical decisions. For example, infants hospitalized with bronchiolitis who are receiving palivizumab should have testing to confirm whether RSV is the etiologic agent so that the treatment can be discontinued.  RSV testing methodologies include nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT), polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and rapid antigen detection tests (RADTs), and cell culture. The preferred testing methodology depends on the patient’s age and the clinical scenario.

Tabs Content
Content Review: 
February 2019

Last Update: October 2019