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Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

What is Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), RSV is a virus that causes mild, cold-like symptoms in both adults and children. However, RSV infection can be serious in premature infants, infants with underlying health problems, and anyone else with heart, lung or immune system problems. No vaccine is currently available. RSV is easily transmitted from person to person. The best precaution against transmission is frequent hand washing.

Internet Resources

MedlinePlus: Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections
Developed by the National Library of Medicine specifically for consumers, this site
is a portal for both government-sponsored and privately developed health information
for the lay public.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The CDC is a governmental agency in the Dept. of Health and Human Services that provides expertise, information, and tools for people and communities to protect their health and help prevent disease.

American Lung Association
The American Lung Association works to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research.


  • Clinical manifestations and assessment of respiratory disease. Des Jardins T. 2006.
  • Infectious diseases of the fetus and newborn infant. Remington JS. 2006.
  • Viruses and human disease. Strauss JH, Straus EG. 2008.

The following resources are available in print at the Alberto Culver Health Learning Center or electronically at http://www.nmh.org/nm/health library virtual library:

  • Gale Encyclopedia of Children’s Health: Infancy through Adolescence. Krapp K, ed. 2006.
  • Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Longe J, ed. 2006.

Journal Articles

  • “Viral respiratory tract infections and asthma: the course ahead.” Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology. Rosenthal LA. 125(6):1212-7. 2010 June.
  • “Susceptibility to bronchiolitis in infants.” Current Opinion in Pediatrics. Vicencio AG. 22(3):302-6. 2010 June.
  • “Novel therapies for an old virus: treatment of RSV infections in the 21st century.” Expert Review of Antiinfective Therapy. Lusebrink J. 7(9):1125-9. 2009 Nov.


The Health Learning Centers at Northwestern Memorial Hospital are available for your information and respite needs during normal business hours. You can use one of our computers, access our wireless network with your own laptop, browse our collections, watch a video, or speak with a health educator or medical librarian. We are also available via telephone or the Internet after you and your new baby are at home.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the Alberto Culver Health Learning Center at HLC@nmh.org.

Last UpdateOctober 30, 2012