The risk factors for developing Respiratory Syncytial Virus, also known as RSV are infants who are born prematurely, infants younger than six months of age, and children who have underlying medical conditions such as congenital heart or lung disease. Children who have older siblings that are school aged or attend day care are also more at risk due to the amount of germs and the amount of contact that they are exposed to. Studies are still being conducted to detect whether heredity plays any role in the development of the virus. Almost all children will have developed RSV by age two, although males are more susceptible to the virus. RSV affects the entire United States and outbreaks usually occur during the late fall, winter, and spring months of the year.
The RSV virus can live on any hard surface such as a table, toys, or cups for four to seven hours. The virus can then enter the body through the nose, eyes, and mouth attaching itself to the upper respiratory tract and then traveling by a cell by cell transfer into the lower respiratory and then into the lungs.
RSV is a member of the paramyxovirus family containing a single strand RNA and is related to the parainfluenza, mumps, and measles virus. The two major strains of RSV are A and B. The A strain is responsible for the majority of more severe forms of RSV bronchiolitis (Martinello, Chen, Weibel, & Kahn, 2002; Walsh, McConnochie, Long, & Hall, 1997). In a recent study by Martinello et al. (2002), the investigators found a subgroup of the A strain (GA3) was associated with more severe disease. The different strains of RSV often circulate at the same time, and season-to-season variation is found in the predominant strain (American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP], 2003; Martinello et al., 2002). Cross section of the RSV virus (www.medscape.com)
RSV invades the bronchiolar epithelial cells causing inflammation and edema. The membranes of the infected cells fuse with adjacent cells to form a large,...
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