Respiratory syncytial virus: diagnosis, prevention and management.
Barr R., Green CA., Sande CJ., Drysdale SB.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is responsible for a large burden of disease globally and can present as a variety of clinical syndromes in children of all ages. Bronchiolitis in infants under 1 year of age is the most common clinical presentation hospitalizing 24.2 per 1000 infants each year in the United Kingdom. RSV has been shown to account for 22% of all episodes of acute lower respiratory tract infection in children globally. RSV hospitalization, that is, RSV severe disease, has also been associated with subsequent chronic respiratory morbidity. Routine viral testing in all children is not currently recommended by the United Kingdom National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) or the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidance and management is largely supportive. There is some evidence for the use of ribavirin in severely immunocompromised children. Emphasis is placed on prevention of RSV infection through infection control measures both in hospital and in the community, and the use of the RSV-specific monoclonal antibody, palivizumab, for certain high-risk groups of infants. New RSV antivirals and vaccines are currently in development. Ongoing work is needed to improve the prevention of RSV infection, not only because of the acute morbidity and mortality, but also to reduce the associated chronic respiratory morbidity after severe infection.