Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Older Adults: A Hidden Annual Epidemic

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Abstract

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common cause of medically significant respiratory tract illnesses in adults 65 years and older. The clinical presentation of RSV is largely indistinguishable from other respiratory infections including influenza, limiting awareness of its burden and impact among health care professionals and the public. Although no specific treatment in adults or licensed vaccine to prevent the disease is currently available, several promising candidate vaccines and treatments are on the horizon. Recognizing and defining the impact of RSV in older adults is important to evaluate the impact of these new prevention and treatment options. Public health and health care professionals need to be aware about RSV so they can advise the general public and older patients about the importance of prevention.

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