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Respiratory Syncytial Virus Treatment and Prevention

Table of Content

    1 Basic introduction

    2 Pathological introduction

    ▪ Etiology

    ▪ Pathological changes

    ▪ Epidemiology

    3 Medical measures

    ▪ Diagnosis

    ▪ Clinical manifestations

    ▪ Treatment measures

    ▪ Prognosis

Treatment and Prevention from Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Let us understand the Causes treatment and prevention of respiratory syncytical virus:

What are the Causes of Respiratory Syncytial Virus?

Respiratory syncytial virus pneumonia (respiratory syncytial virus pneumonia), short for syncytial virus pneumonia, is a common interstitial pneumonia in children, which occurs in infants and young children. Because maternal antibodies cannot prevent infections, babies born shortly after birth can develop the disease, but newborns are rare. Occasional outbreaks of nosocomial infections in neonatal wards in maternity hospitals have been reported abroad.

Pathological Introduction of Respiratory syncytial virus


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV, referred to as syncytial virus, also belongs to the family Paramyxoviridae) is the most common cause of viral pneumonia in children, which can cause interstitial pneumonia and bronchiolitis. In Beijing, 48% of viral pneumonia and 58% of bronchiolitis are caused by syncytial virus (1980-1984). In Guangzhou, 31.4% of pediatric pneumonia and bronchiolitis are caused by syncytial virus (1973-1986).

In the United States, 20% to 25% of infant pneumonia and 50% to 75% of bronchiolitis are caused by syncytial virus.

RSV is similar to parainfluenza virus under electron microscope, with a virus particle size of about 150nm.
It is slightly smaller than parainfluenza virus, RNA virus, sensitive to ether, non-hemagglutinating, and forming unique syncytia in human epithelial tissue culture ( syncytium), the virus proliferates in the cytoplasm, and intracellular inclusions are visible.

Syncytial virus has only one serotype, and recent molecular biology methods have demonstrated two subtypes.
All Causes of  Syncytial Respiratory Virus

Pathological changes

The incubation period for syncytial virus infection is 2-8 days (mostly 4-6 days). Syncytial virus pneumonia is typically seen as interstitial infiltration of monocytes.

Mainly manifested by the widening of alveolar septum and interstitial exudation, mainly monocytes, including lymphocytes, plasma cells and macrophages.

In addition, the alveolar cavity was filled with edema fluid, and a clear film of the lungs was seen. 
In some cases, lymphocytic infiltration of the bronchiolar wall can also be seen.

Edema in the lung parenchyma with necrotic areas results in alveolar tamponade, consolidation and collapse. 
In a few cases, multinuclear fusion cells were seen in the alveolar cavity, and their morphology was similar to that of measles giant cells, but no nuclear inclusions were found.

Gardner (1970) dissected 1 case of death from syncytial virus pneumonia, and a large number of syncytial virus was detected by fluorescent tissue antibody test. No human globulin was found. 

It is believed that the pneumonia lesion may mainly be caused by syncytial virus's direct damage to the lung. This is not caused by allergies.


Syncytial virus infection is extremely widespread. Results of immunoglobulin assay for serum IgG in Beijing (1978):
Positive rate of umbilical cord blood was 93%, 89% from 1 month to birth, 40% from 1 to 6 months, 70 at 2 and 3 years. 
Above 80%, 4% to 14 years old are all about 80% positive (complementary complement measurement is consistent with this).

Because maternal antibodies cannot completely prevent infection, syncytial virus pneumonia can occur at any time after birth. 
More common under 3 years old, heavier cases seen in 1 to 6 months, more men than women. 

North China is more common in winter and spring, while Guangdong is more common in spring and summer.
Because antibodies cannot completely prevent infection, reinfection of syncytial virus is extremely common.
Some people have observed it for 10 years, and the incidence of reinfection is as high as 65%. Syncytial virus is highly contagious. 

There have been reports of family members having successive infections. When they occur in the family, older children and adults usually have upper respiratory tract infections. 
The literature reports that the rate of secondary syncytial virus infection in the hospital is as high as 30% to 50%.

Diagnosis of Respiratory syncytial virus

Medical Measures

What is the Diagnosis of Respiratory syncytial virus?

In the past ten years, syncytial virus pneumonia and bronchiolitis have ranked first in infant viral pneumonia in China.
The symptoms are almost indistinguishable from those of parainfluenza virus pneumonia, mild influenza virus pneumonia, and mild adenoviral pneumonia.
Severe influenza virus pneumonia and severe adenoviral pneumonia have persistent high fever, severe poisoning symptoms and respiratory symptoms, and clinical manifestations are far more severe than syncytial virus pneumonia.

The diagnosis of this disease is mainly based on the results of virological and serological tests.

In recent years, indirect immunofluorescence technology using exfoliated cells from nasopharyngeal secretions and IgM antibodies in serum, ELISA, alkaline phosphatase anti-alkaline phosphatase bridged enzymemethod (APAAP), biotin avidin ELISA, spicy Root peroxidase-anti-horseradish peroxidase (PAP), monoclonal antibody fluorescence method, etc. can be used for rapid diagnosis of syncytial virus infection.

What is the Clinical Manifestation of Respiratory Syncytial virus?

This disease is more common in infants and young children, more than half of which are infants less than 1 year old, and more than male, the ratio is about 1.5 to 2: 1. 
The incubation period is about 4 to 5 days. Early coughing and nasal obstruction can be seen. About 2/3 of the cases have high fever, which can reach 41 ° C, but the fever is generally not persistent, and it is easier to reduce fever with antipyretics.

Most of the time is 1 to 4 days, and a few are 5 to 8 days. About 1/3 of the sick children have moderate fever, which lasts for 1 to 4 days. 

The heat course of most cases is 4 to 10 days. Mild cases have dyspnea and lack of neurological symptoms, moderate and severe cases have more obvious dyspnea, wheezing, lips cyanosis, nasal fan, and three concave signs.
A few severe cases can also be accompanied by heart failure. Chest auscultation mostly has small or thick, middle rales, percussion is generally no dullness, a few have unvoiced sound.

X-ray examination: Most have small flaky shadows, and large flares are extremely rare. About 1/3 of the sick children have emphysema to varying degrees.
Blood image: The total number of white blood cells is generally between (5-15) × 109 / L (5000-15000 / mm3), and most are below 10 × 109 / L (10000 / mm3). Neutrophils are mostly below 70%.
Treatment of Respiratory syncytial virus

What is the Treatment of Respiratory Syncytial Virus?

Special attention should be paid to general treatment, isolation, and efforts to prevent secondary bacterial or other viral infections.
If there is no secondary bacterial infection, only Ayurvedic medicine can be used.

For general treatment, see the Bronchial Pneumonia section, and for others, see the Adenoviral Pneumonia section. 
Because the disease is relatively mild, not so many symptomatic and supportive therapies are needed.

Regarding antiviral chemical drugs, heavier patients can be treated with ribavirin aerosolization. 
Please refer to the overview of virus infectious diseases. Recently, some people abroad have used short-term high-dose aerosol to treat syncytial virus infection.

In addition, in recent years, some hospitals have used whey fluid (colostrum diluent) for nebulization to treat syncytial virus lower respiratory tract infections.

Few Medical Colleges have extracted SIgA from neat colostrum for nebulization to treat respiratory syncytial virus pneumonia. Efficacy can be applied.


The disease is generally mild. The clinical recovery of simple cases is 6 to 10 days, and the X-ray shadow mostly disappears in 2 to 3 weeks. 
If isolation measures are inadequate, secondary infections are likely to occur, and fever may occur again. Simple syncytial virus pneumonia rarely dies.

Respiratory syncytial virus infection is viral

 Reminder: Respiratory syncytial virus is a virus, so antibiotic (mainly bacterial) treatment is not effective.

Respiratory syncytial virus infections

What is a respiratory syncytial virus infection?

 For babies 2 to 7 months of age, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of two types of lung diseases, bronchiolitis and pneumonia.
However, whether you need to worry depends on the specific situation. 
In most infants and young children, respiratory syncytial virus infection is similar to the common cold.
Bronchiolitis is a disease that causes the smallest airways in the lungs to swell, become full of mucus, and block airflow. Pneumonia is inflammation of the lungs.

 A large proportion of viral pneumonia and bronchiolitis are caused by respiratory syncytial virus. 
These two diseases can be dangerous and even fatal for babies under 6 months of age.

Respiratory syncytial virus may also cause ear infections. Respiratory syncytial virus attacks usually occur in the winter and spring in the north and spring and summer in the south. 

The virus is very easy to spread from child to child, so babies in kindergarten are susceptible to infection.

Is respiratory syncytial virus serious?

Respiratory syncytial virus infection is most serious for babies under 6 months of age because their lungs are not fully developed and the damage caused by these infections may not be good for a long time.

For premature babies, twins and multiple babies, babies with respiratory problems or congenital heart disease at birth, the effects of RSV may be more severe. 
Studies have shown that babies infected with respiratory syncytial virus are more likely to develop asthma and other respiratory diseases later.

Respiratory syncytial virus is not a serious problem for school-age children and adults because their immune systems are well-established. 
Adults and older children infected with RSV only experience symptoms such as sore throat or cough.

How can I tell if my baby is infected with a respiratory syncytial virus or a cold?

 The initial symptoms of respiratory syncytial virus are similar to mild cold symptoms, such as a runny nose, a mild cough, and a fever. After two or three days, it develops into a more pronounced cough, and breathing is laborious.
If your baby is less than 3 months old, or is a premature baby, twins, or has respiratory or heart problems, you are not sure whether he is infected with respiratory syncytial virus or a mild cold. See your doctor in time.

The doctor may take a small sample of mucus from your baby's nasal or upper respiratory tract and send it to a specialized laboratory to test for a respiratory syncytial virus infection.
But most doctors rarely do this test, because there is no special drug treatment for respiratory syncytial virus infection itself, and doctors can only treat combined bacterial infections. 

In addition, if your baby has the following symptoms, you need to see a doctor quickly:

• Nose flaps, the chest is undulating with each breath
• The skin between the ribs, the supraclavicular fossa, and the subthoracic cavity sags during inhalation
• Humming when breathing or tightness caused by abdominal muscle contraction
• Wheezing when exhaling, making a loud whistle
• Coughing, restless sleep, or even difficulty falling asleep
• Can't eat. A baby who eats vigorously will not have difficulty breathing.
• Lips and nails are purple.
• More than 60 breaths per minute (when the baby is not crying). A large proportion of viral pneumonia and bronchiolitis are Caused by respiratory syncytial virus.

These two diseases can be dangerous for babies under 6 months of age. Therefore, understanding the prevention and treatment of respiratory syncytial virus is your first step in protecting your baby's health. Respiratory syncytial virus prevention methods.

The best way to prevent the spread of respiratory syncytial virus is to wash your hands frequently. 
You don't need special soap or hand sanitizer. 

Recent studies have shown that ordinary dishwashing detergents are indeed twice as effective at eliminating viruses than antibacterial medicinal soaps. 
Antibacterial medicinal soaps are only effective against bacteria, but not against viruses. 
Ordinary soaps are also effective against bacteria.
You need to make sure that your babysitters pay attention to washing their hands frequently.

When some guests come to the house, let them wash their hands before holding the baby.

At the same time, try to take your baby as few people as possible or reach out to people who are sick.

Respiratory syncytial virus is transmitted through the air and the surface of the object. That is to say, as long as the baby breathes the contaminated air after the infected person coughs or contacts the virus-contaminated toy, he may be infected.

 The virus can survive up to 6 hours on the hands and surfaces.
Older brothers and sisters may only have a slight cold symptom when exposed to the virus, but they may bring the virus home and cause the baby to become infected.

Respiratory syncytial virus treatment, like the common cold, there is no specific cure for respiratory syncytial virus.

But you can take the following steps to make your baby more comfortable:

• Give your baby plenty of fluids to keep him hydrated. If your baby is still breastfeeding, feed him whenever he wants. Babies older than 2 months can drink a small amount of boiled water.
After adding supplementary food, the baby can also drink some diluted juice without diarrhea.
Pay attention to the principle of babies replenishing fluids.
• Raise your baby's head slightly or place him in a semi-recumbent position. Raising your baby's head will make it easier for him to breathe when his nose is blocked.
• Put a drop of saline into your baby's nose to soften the mucus crusts in the nose, and then use the nasal aspirator to suck out the mucus in the nose. You can also prepare your own salt solution at a ratio of 1: 100 or use warm water.
• Using a humidifier in your baby's room can help your baby's nasal cavity stay moist and make it easier to breathe. But make sure to keep the humidifier clean in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. When the machine becomes dirty, germs can be transmitted through the mist.
• Try to keep the air in your baby's space fresh and pay attention to opening the window for ventilation.
Avoid the effects of cigarette smoke, freshly painted paint, burners, and irritating fumes, which can make it harder for your baby to breathe.
It can even cause your baby to have more severe RSV or other respiratory virus infections.
 • When you are going to give your baby antipyretics such as acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol) and some over-the-counter cold medicines, be sure to ask your doctor's consent, especially if the dosage is in accordance with the doctor's requirements. 
Because the side effects of some medications that relieve congestion symptoms can be harmful to very young babies.

What is the Prevention for Respiratory Syncytial Virus?

1. Disinfect pollutants and hands to isolate patients. During the epidemic, attention should be paid to avoid crowd gathering and close contact with infected persons, etc., which can help reduce the respiratory syncytial virus infection rate.
2. Palizumab is the only preventive drug for respiratory syncytial virus infection, but it is very expensive.

Author's Bio

Doctor Shawna Reason, Virologist
Dr. Shawna Reason
Name: Shawna Reason

Education: MBBS, MD

Occupation: Medical Doctor / Virologist 

Specialization: Medical Science, Micro Biology / Virology, Natural Treatment

Experience: 15 Years as a Medical Practitioner

About Me

Quora Profile

See Also:
  • Causes of Respiratory Syncytial Virus


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