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Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an important cause of human respiratory infection. It strikes most frequently and severely in the very young and is a common cause of bronchiolitis, pneumonia, or croup in young infants. Infections in older children and adults tend to be milder and to involve the upper respiratory tract. RSV infections are seasonal, from late fall to spring, and often occur in epidemic form.
Aiding in the diagnosis of a recent respiratory syncytial virus infection
The presence of IgM class antibodies or a 4-fold or greater rise in paired sera IgG titer indicates recent infection.
The presence of demonstrable IgG generally indicates past exposure and immunity.
For low IgG antibody levels with no demonstrable IgM, it is recommended that a convalescent specimen be drawn in 2 to 4 weeks.
Not useful for diagnosis from spinal fluid.
Tristram DA, Welliver RC: Respiratory syncytial virus. In Manual of Clinical Microbiology. Seventh edition. Edited by PR Murray, EJ Baron, MA Pfaller, et al. Washington, DC, ASM Press, 1999, pp 942-950