The information on this website is provided by RSV Patient Network for awareness raising purposes only and should not take the place of talking with your doctor or healthcare professional. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. If you have any questions about your medical condition, talk to your doctor.
Every winter many people are infected with RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). It is a very common and contagious virus that causes infections of the lungs. In most cases the infection is mild and symptoms are similar to those of a common cold. However, RSV can also cause severe respiratory illness, especially in babies and older adults. What starts out as a ‘common cold’ can very rapidly develop into serious disease with breathing problems that may become life-threatening.
Unfortunately, not many people know about RSV and about the complications (what looks like just) a common cold can cause in babies. Because most young parents are not aware of RSV and the risks to their baby, they are not alert to the symptoms and unaware of preventive measures they can take. Understandably, they are shocked and traumatised when their new-born child is rushed to hospital, because of a virus they have never heard of. Yet, it is the #1 reason babies are hospitalized in their first year of life. In developing countries it is – after malaria – the second most important cause of death in infants.
RSV Patient Network is run by parents of children that have been hospitalised with RSV. We want to raise public awareness about RSV so everybody understands that a common cold in babies can develop into serious disease. People should be able to recognise the symptoms of severe RSV infection and know when to call a doctor or seek emergency medical care.