Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of lower respiratory tract infections in young infants. It is an enveloped, single-stranded, nonsegmented, negative-strand RNA virus, a member of the family Pneumoviridae. Globally, RSV is responsible for 2.3% of deaths among neonates 0–27 days of age. Respiratory syncytial virus infection is most common in children aged below 24 months. Neonates present with cough and fever. Respiratory syncytial virus-associated wheezing is seen in 20% infants during the first year of life of which 2–3% require hospitalization. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) gives fast results and has higher sensitivity compared with culture and rapid antigen tests and are not affected by passively administered antibody to RSV. Therapy for RSV infection of the LRT is mainly supportive, and preventive measures like good hygiene and isolation are the mainstay of management. Standard precautions, hand hygiene, breastfeeding and contact isolation should be followed for RSV-infected newborns. Recent AAP guidelines do not recommend pavilizumab prophylaxis for preterm infants born at 29–35 weeks without chronic lung disease, hemodynamically significant congenital heart disease and coexisting conditions. RSV can lead to long-term sequelae such as wheezing and asthma, associated with increased healthcare costs and reduced quality of life.
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