Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV)

Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV) is a common respiratory illness that usually caused cold-like symptoms. RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. 

Symptoms & Care

People injected with RSV usually show symptoms within 4-6 days after getting infected. Symptoms include:

  • runny nose
  • decrease in appetite
  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • fever
  • wheezing

Symptoms typically come in stages and not all at once. In very young infants, the only symptoms may be irritability, decreased activity and breathing issues. Most infections go away on their own in a week or two. 

For more information on symptoms and care, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.



RSV can be spread when:

  • an infected person coughs or sneezes
  • you get virus droplets from a cough or sneeze in your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • you have direct contact with the virus (i.e kissing the face of a child with RSV)
  • you touch a surface that have the virus on it (i.e doorknob) 

Most people are usually contagious for 3-8 days, and may become contagious a day or two before showing symptoms. Typically, RSV circulation starts during the fall and peaks in the winter. 

For more information on transmission, visit Center for Disease Control and Prevention.



Preventative measures to take to help prevent the spread of RSV include:

  • cover your coughs and sneezes
  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • avoid close contact (i.e kissing, shaking hands, and sharing cups or utensils) with others
  • clean frequently touched surfaces (i.e doorknobs, mobile devices)

Protect Your Child from RSV Infographic (CDC)


To keep current with all information regarding RSV, please visit the New Jersey Department of Health's RSV website