Respiratory syncytial virus infection in adults

Hannah H. Nam, Michael G. Ison*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) belongs to the recently defined Pneumoviridae family, Orthopneumovirus genus. It is a negative sense, single stranded RNA virus that results in epidemics of respiratory infections that typically peak in the winter in temperate climates and during the rainy season in tropical climates. Generally, one of the two genotypes (A and B) predominates in a single season, alternating annually, although regional variation occurs. RSV is a cause of disease and death in children, older people, and immunocompromised patients, and its clinical effect on adults admitted to hospital is clarified with expanded use of multiplex molecular assays. Among adults, RSV produces a wide range of clinical symptoms including upper respiratory tract infections, severe lower respiratory tract infections, and exacerbations of underlying disease. Here we discuss the latest evidence on the burden of RSV related disease in adults, especially in those with immunocompromise or other comorbidities. We review current therapeutic and prevention options, as well as those in development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberl5021
JournalThe BMJ
StatePublished - Sep 10 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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