Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Infection: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 10/26/2022

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is a common respiratory infection that is very contagious. In some babies and toddlers, it can cause serious illness, but in older children and adults, it produces symptoms similar to those of a bad cold. The illness is most commonly seen during the winter season and spreads through respiratory secretions and close contact with infected people.

The most common symptoms of RSV infection include

Most people are exposed to RSV during the first year of life, and many babies have only mild symptoms. Others may have more severe pulmonary symptoms. Because the RSV infection does not produce a long-lasting immune response, it is possible to have repeated infections throughout one's lifetime.

Cause of RSV infection

The respiratory syncytial virus causes RSV infection.

Other respiratory syncytial virus infection symptoms


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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.