Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) isn’t the flu, but its cold- and flu-like symptoms are showing up more often in children, says Dr. Octavio Ramilo, professor of pediatrics in the Cancer Immunobiology Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center. RSV infection now is the most frequent cause for hospital admission among children less than 1 year of age in the U.S.
“RSV causes bronchitis and pneumonia in young children and can be especially severe in high-risk groups such as prematurely born infants, children with heart disease or immune deficiencies, and children who suffer from chronic lung ailments,” Dr. Ramilo warns. “For these high-risk groups we can administer a preventive antibody therapy.”
Dr. Ramilo also advises medical care for any infected baby up to 6 weeks of age. “Be sure to suction their noses to help infants breathe,” he says. “RSV is mild in most adults, but the elderly, transplant recipients and others with immune deficiencies are at high risk.”
Dr. Ramilo says to help prevent infection of babies, protect them from exposure to school-age siblings or other relatives with cold symptoms and maintain good hygiene with careful hand washing.
Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/infectiousdiseases to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services for infectious diseases.
Media Contact: Kristen Holland Shear
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