Q: What is RSV, and are my multiples likely to be affected by this illness?

A: RSV is an acronym for respiratory syncytial virus which is a very common and contagious virus. Virtually all children contract RSV by the time they are two years old. The virus causes a lung infection that makes some babies and young children very sick. RSV is the leading cause of pneumonia and bronchiolitis in babies and is the most frequent cause of lower respiratory tract infections in children. According to a study published in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal in July 2002, RSV is the leading cause of hospitalization of infants under the age of one. In addition, RSV may play a major role in the development of childhood asthma.

Babies born preterm (before 36 weeks gestation) are at a greater risk of developing complications from RSV. Because RSV is so contagious, if one multiple contracts this virus the other multiple birth babies run a strong likelihood of contracting the virus in a very short period of time.

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