RSV Is the Leading VIral Agent Respiratory Tract Disease Worldwide
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RSV plays a major role in respiratory infection among the childhood population, especially infants and younger children. It is the leading viral agent respiratory tract disease worldwide, causing bronchiolitis and pneumonia in infants and young children. There are about 100,000 cases and 4,500 deaths yearly of RSV infections in the United States (1). Typically, all children are infected with RSV by age 2 to 3; however, the infections can reemerge up to 5 to 6 per year. RSV was first extracted from chimpanzees that were showing upper respiratory tract disease as an agent in 1956 (1). The chimpanzees had an upper respiratory tract illness in addition to coryza, runny nose, and malaise. The humans that interacted with these chimpanzees soon also had mild upper respiratory tract illness. A Long strain was recovered in children who suffered from bronchopneumonia while a Schneider strain was recovered from a patient with croup. Together, a group of scientists combined all these strains into a term called “respiratory syncytial virus” (3).
RSV is an enveloped, cytoplasmic, pleomorphic virus with negative single stranded RNA (3). This virus belongs in the paramuxoviridae family and in the subfamily Penumovirinae. It has a single serotype and two antigenic subtypes, A or B. In total, 8 out of the total ten RSV proteins are seen in infected cells and virions, eight being structural and two being non-structural (3). The viral envelope has three glycoproteins: G, F, and SH protein (4). In addition, RSV has 5 other structure proteins which include L, N, P, M and M2-1 (4). Two non-structural proteins: NS1 and NS2 are identified with RSV, but it is still unknown whether these two proteins are a part of the assem...
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...ng healthy infants (4). Risk factors for severe RSV infection or hospitalization can include premature birth, low birth weight, liver disease, Down syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities (4).
Signs and symptoms are similar to those of the common cold. It can include rhinorrhea, nasal congestion, pharyngitis, and cough (3). Other characteristics of RSV include mucosal edema and a fever (4). Usually, infections travel to the lower respiratory tract and cause bronchitis, pneumonia, fever, middle-ear disease, and wheezing. Typically the disease lasts for about 7-12 days. However, studies have shown than up to 75% of the patients with RSV bronchiolitis show symptoms of wheezing and pulmonary dysfunction years later (3). These symptoms decrease and disappear during the next 10 years but some patients have continued showing symptoms and classified as having asthma.