What is Severe RSV Disease?

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RSV is a virus that infects the lungs

  • RSV or respiratory syncytial [sin-sish-uhl] virus is a contagious virus that may infect a child's lungs and breathing passages
  • Most children will catch RSV by the age of 2 years
  • RSV spreads rapidly among children. While most will recover in 1 to 2 weeks, infants and children can continue to spread the virus for 1 to 3 weeks, even after recovery

Most children recover from the disease in a week or two, but in preterm infants (≤35 wGA) or those with certain heart or lung problems, RSV can lead to serious lung infection and hospitalization

RSV Season

  • RSV is present year-round but its activity typically goes up in the fall, peaks in the winter, and goes down in early spring. The exact timing of RSV season varies by location.

How severe RSV disease affects the lungs

Lung Structure and Capacity

Click on the buttons below to see estimates of premature
lung development compared to full term.

Born at 30 weeks

Born at 32 weeks

Born at 34 weeks

Full-term lungs

  • Lung volume of preterm infants born at 34 weeks GA is only about half of the lung volume seen in full-term infants
  • A preterm infant’s airways are smaller and narrower than a full-term baby's airways

Even as preterm infants start to look healthy and strong, they remain at high risk for severe RSV disease, in part due to underdeveloped lungs.

Is your baby at high risk?
Take the Risk Assessment now.
Then, talk to your pediatrician about the results.

Take the Risk
Assessment now >

Important Safety Information

What is Synagis ® (palivizumab)?

Synagis is a prescription medication that is used to help prevent a serious lung disease caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in children at high risk for severe lung disease from RSV.

Who should not receive Synagis?

Children should not receive Synagis if they have ever had a severe allergic reaction to it. Signs and symptoms of a severe allergic reaction could include itchy rash; swelling of the face; difficulty swallowing; difficulty breathing; bluish color of the skin; muscle weakness or floppiness; a drop in blood pressure; and/or unresponsiveness. If your child has any of these signs or symptoms of a severe allergic reaction after getting Synagis, be sure to tell your child’s healthcare provider or get medical help right away.

How is Synagis given?

Synagis is given as a shot, usually in the thigh muscle, each month during the RSV season. Your child should receive their first Synagis shot before the RSV season starts, to help protect them before RSV becomes active. When RSV is most active, your child will need to receive Synagis shots every 28-30 days to help protect them from severe RSV disease for about a month. Your child should continue to receive monthly shots of Synagis until the end of RSV season. Your child may still get severe RSV disease after receiving Synagis. If your child has an RSV infection, they should continue to get their monthly shots throughout the RSV season to help prevent severe disease from new RSV infections.

The effectiveness of Synagis shots given less than monthly throughout the RSV season has not been established.

What are the side effects of Synagis?

Possible, serious side effects include severe allergic reaction, which may occur after any dose of Synagis. Such reactions may be life-threatening or cause death. Unusual bruising and/or groups of tiny red spots on the skin have also been reported.

Common side effects of Synagis include fever and rash. Other possible side effects include skin reactions around the area where the shot was given (like redness, swelling, warmth, or discomfort).

Please see full Prescribing Information for Synagis, including Patient Information.