Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Joan Godich, BSN, RN Nurse Consultant

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
Bethesda, MD

October 2, 2014


Respiratory syncytial virus is one of the most important causes of respiratory tract infection in infants and the elderly worldwide. Transmitted by direct and indirect contact, respiratory syncytial virus spreads as readily in the hospital as it does in the community, making healthcare-associated infection common. Respiratory syncytial virus is a major preventable healthcare-associated infection with frequent outbreaks that can lead to high mortality rates in healthcare facilities. Proper infection prevention measures, including hand hygiene, standard and contact precautions, cohorting, and rapid diagnostic techniques, are critical in controlling the spread of respiratory syncytial virus in healthcare facilities and establishing a culture of patient and employee safety. Timely implementation of standard infection control measures will minimize its medical and economic impact.