Health Watch - Infections: RSV

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This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about infections, how the body fights them and how medicine can help. Colds and influenza are common viruses, but there’s another virus with similar symptoms that’s becoming more common in children, and it’s now the most frequent cause of hospital admissions in children under one year old.

Dr. Octavio Ramilo, a pediatrician at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, causes bronchitis and pneumonia in young children. It’s particularly dangerous for children with heart or lung problems or immune system disorders, as well as for premature infants. Adults may be infected, too, but their symptoms are usually mild, except in the elderly and those with weaker immune systems. There is a preventive antibody therapy available for high-risk patients. Otherwise, adults and school-age children with cold-like symptoms should be kept away from infants, and those who take care of infants should wash their hands frequently.  

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/infectiousdiseases to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in infectious diseases.

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March 2009


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