RSV is one of the most common causes of childhood illness, triggering annual outbreaks of respiratory illness in all age groups. Although most people recover within a week or two, RSV can be serious for infants and older adults. While there is no specific treatment approach for RSV, clinical research is playing a vital role in preventing infection.
What is RSV?
Respiratory syncytial virus, (RSV), is a respiratory virus that causes mild, cold-like symptoms in healthy adults. Symptoms in very young infants may be irritability, less activity, and difficulty breathing and can lead to hospitalization and death.
RSV is transmitted through the cough or sneeze of an infected person or direct contact, like a kiss. All age groups are susceptible to RSV, but certain groups are at higher risk of developing severe infections. The CDC lists those groups as:
- Premature infants
- Young children with congenital (from birth) heart or chronic lung disease
- Young children with compromised (weakened) immune systems due to a medical condition or medical treatment
- Adults with compromised immune systems
- Older adults, especially those with underlying heart or lung disease
Clinical Research Studies and RSV
Currently, pregnant women receive a tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Dtap) vaccine toward the end of pregnancy to pass immunity to the unborn child. This protects the infant after birth. Adding a vaccine for RSV to these will prevent infection and save the lives of babies by preventing infection.
Seattle Women’s is participating in an RSV vaccine study for non-pregnant women ages 18 – 45 to determine the effectiveness when the RSV vaccine is given with the Dtap vaccine. To learn more about this study, please call (206) 522-3330, or visit our website.
“I am very pleased to participate in this study. My premature twin boys were both hospitalized from RSV when they were just a few months old, many years ago. They survived but I wish we all could have been spared this experience. I anticipate this vaccine may be incredibly helpful in preventing RSV.” –Nancy Tipton, MD, FACOG and board-certified Gynecologist at Seattle Women’s.