Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common virus that causes cold-like symptoms. RSV spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. These actions can create droplets of mucus or saliva which carry RSV. Then, when those droplets make contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth of someone who is not sick, that person may become infected. There are things you can do to prevent the spread of RSV. Wash your hands often, keep your hands away from your face, avoid close contact with sick people, cover your coughs and sneezes, disinfect surfaces, and stay home when you are sick.

For most people RSV infection produces mild, cold-like symptoms that go away on their own in a week or two. But in some cases, RSV can cause severe lung infections, including pneumonia. The groups of people who are most at risk from RSV complications include infants younger than 6 months of age, people older than age 65, and young children and older adults who have pre-existing lung, heart, or immune system conditions.

Most people with RSV can recover at home without additional care, however you should call your healthcare provider if you or your child experience difficulty breathing, difficulty drinking liquids, or your symptoms get worse.

This season, vaccines and monoclonal antibody treatments are available to provide additional protection against serious illness due to RSV infection. Adults 60 years of age and older may receive a single dose of RSV vaccine. Infants younger than 8 months old should receive 1 dose of nirsevimab, a monoclonal antibody treatment. Additionally, infants and children 8-19 months of age who are at increased risk for severe RSV disease should receive 1 dose of the antibody treatment. Children younger than 24 months of age with certain conditions that make them more susceptible to severe RSV disease may be eligible for palivizumab, a different antibody treatment. People who will be 32 to 36 weeks pregnant between September and January should get 1 dose of maternal RSV vaccine to protect their babies. If you are in one of the groups above, you should get the RSV vaccine or antibody treatment as early in the season as possible.

To view the source of this background information and more RSV resources, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) RSV website under Resources.

Information for the General Public

Information for Healthcare Professionals

Utah Surveillance Data