Respiratory syncytial virus infection in adults

Hannah H Nam, Michael G Ison
BMJ: British Medical Journal 2019 September 10, 366: l5021
Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) belongs to the recently defined Pneumoviridae family, Orthopneumovirus genus. It is a negative sense, single stranded RNA virus that results in epidemics of respiratory infections that typically peak in the winter in temperate climates and during the rainy season in tropical climates. Generally, one of the two genotypes (A and B) predominates in a single season, alternating annually, although regional variation occurs. RSV is a cause of disease and death in children, older people, and immunocompromised patients, and its clinical effect on adults admitted to hospital is clarified with expanded use of multiplex molecular assays. Among adults, RSV produces a wide range of clinical symptoms including upper respiratory tract infections, severe lower respiratory tract infections, and exacerbations of underlying disease. Here we discuss the latest evidence on the burden of RSV related disease in adults, especially in those with immunocompromise or other comorbidities. We review current therapeutic and prevention options, as well as those in development.


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