What is RSV? | Respiratory Syncytial Virus | FluCamp

Respiratory Syncytial Virus Explained

Everybody knows what the common cold and influenza are, but we’d guess not many have heard of RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). So, what it is? Well, it is a very common virus that leads to mild, cold like symptoms in adults and older healthy children, but for babies and those in high-risk groups RSV symptoms can be more serious and fatal.


What are the symptoms of RSV?

Respiratory Syncytial Virus symptoms most commonly appear about four to six days after exposure to the virus and include:

  • a congested or runny nose,
  • dry cough,
  • low-grade fever,
  • sore throat,
  • mild headache.

RSV Symptoms in Babies and High-Risk Groups

RSV in babies and those in high-risk groups such as the elderly can be much more serious. RSV symptoms in babies and those in high-risk groups can include:

  • fever,
  • severe cough,
  • wheezing,
  • rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
  • bluish colour of the skin due to a lack of oxygen.

RSV in Children and Infants

Respiratory Syncytial Virus is the most common germ that causes lung and airways infections in infants and young children. Most infants have had this infection by two years old. It is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children under one year of age.

RSV symptoms in infants can include:

  • a congested or runny nose,
  • dry cough,
  • low-grade fever,
  • sore throat,
  • mild headache.

Is RSV Contagious?

It is highly contagious and can spread through schools and childcare centres quickly. Babies often get it when older children carry the virus home from school and pass it to them. Most children and adults recover in 1-2 weeks, although some might have repeated wheezing. Severe or life- threatening infection requiring a hospital stay may occur in premature babies or infants and adults who have chronic heart or lung problems.

How You Can Help

RSV Vaccine Trials & Studies

Unfortunately, around 30 babies die each year in the UK from RSV, and there is currently no specific treatment for RSV infection. This is why we are conducting a lot of studies on the virus this year to find out more about it. If you would like to help us with our research, or would just like to know more about our RSV vaccine trials, or to sign up, click here!

< >


An average clinical trial length is 11 – 14 days. To apply for FluCamp please complete our online form. We'll call you back within 24 hours to explain the next steps so you can decide if it's for you.