Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV): Prevention and risks

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How RSV spreads

RSV is very contagious. It can spread from one person to another by:

Preventing RSV

You can take some steps to help protect yourself and others from RSV:

If you have cold-like symptoms, you should avoid coming into contact with people who are at a high risk of severe RSV infection.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent RSV infection. A medication (called palivizumab) is available to prevent severe RSV illness in certain infants and children who are at high risk. This drug can't treat people who already have symptoms of RSV.

The drug is given by injection into the muscle every month during the peak RSV season, which is late fall to spring.

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Risks of getting RSV

RSV is a seasonal viral infection that circulates from the fall to spring months. In healthy children and adults, RSV symptoms are similar to those of the common cold.

Although most children experience RSV by the time they are 2 years old, repeat infections can occur at any age. Repeat infections of RSV are generally less severe.

Who is most at risk of severe RSV infection

Some populations are at a higher risk of severe RSV infections, such as:

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Recommendations for travellers

RSV is common around the world.

Practise good hand hygiene and respiratory practices, such as washing your hands and coughing or sneezing into your arm, to keep from getting sick.

If you're planning to travel, consult the:

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