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Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection: An Update

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Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a highly contagious respiratory virus that can cause mild to severe illness in children. It is the leading cause of lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) in children under the age of one year, and it can also affect older children and adults, especially those with underlying medical conditions. In the post-COVID period, there seems to be an increase in the incidence, possibly due to ‘immunity debt’. Symptoms of RSV infection in children may include fever, runny nose, and cough. In severe cases, it can lead to bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lungs) or pneumonia (infection of the lungs). Most children with RSV infection recover within a week or two, but some may require hospitalization, especially those who are premature or have underlying medical conditions. As there is no specific treatment for RSV infection, supportive care is the mainstay of management. In severe cases, oxygen therapy or mechanical ventilation may be necessary. High flow nasal cannula seems to be beneficial. There have been promising advances in development of RSV vaccines; few trials in adults and pregnant women have reported encouraging results. The US FDA has approved two RSV vaccines for use in older adults (GSK’s Arexvy and Pfizer’s ABRYSVO)

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AS drafted the review; SKK, RL provided critical inputs. All authors reviewed the final manuscript. RL will act as guarantor for this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Rakesh Lodha.

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Soni, A., Kabra, S.K. & Lodha, R. Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection: An Update. Indian J Pediatr 90, 1245–1253 (2023).

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