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What is RSV and how to disinfect surfaces against this pathogen

Currently news reports indicate a big seasonal upswing in illnesses and hospitalizations due to Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

A recent article from NPR News indicated “An unseasonably early spike in respiratory syncytial virus cases among young children is pushing some hospitals to capacity.”  READ NPR Article

What is RSV and what kind of illness does it cause?  RSV is a contagious virus that mostly manifests as a mild illness with cold-like symptoms in adults but can cause pneumonia and bronchiolitis in very young children.  It can be life-threatening in infants and older adults.

Who is most as risk from RSV?  Children less than 2, particularly infants less than 1 year old, and vulnerable adults with other health related of sick child with thermometer in mouth

Children less than age 2:  RSV can be dangerous for some infants and young children. Each year in the United States, an estimated 58,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized due to RSV infection.  Children with weakened immune systems and other congenital conditions are more at risk.

Infants less than 1 year old:  RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States.

Healthy adults can get infected with RSV, but commonly have mild cold like symptoms and recover quickly.

Older Adults and those with other health conditions:  RSV infections can also be dangerous for certain adults.  Adults at highest risk for severe RSV infection include
• Older adults, especially those 65 years and older
• Adults with chronic heart or lung disease
• Adults with weakened immune systems
Each year an estimated 177,000 older adults are hospitalized and 14,000 of them die in the United States due to RSV

How Contagious is RSV?  RSV infections are contagious and most commonly transmitted through respiratory secretions by coughing or sneezing.  It can also be transmitted by touching an infected person and by touching contaminated surfaces.  RSV can survive on hard surfaces for an extended period.

How do you prevent transmission of RSV?  Preventing RSV involves taking precautions to avoid contact with infected individuals, frequent hand washing, covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing, cleaning & disinfecting high touch surfaces regularly, and staying home when you are sick.

The infographic below is courtesy of the CDC.

Prevention of RSV infection infographic from the CDC

What type of disinfecting should be considered when RSV cases are detected?

Implement a disinfecting protocol that focuses on high touch surfaces.  These surfaces should be clean and disinfected more frequently, particularly during seasonal acitivity of cold, flu, RSV, and other pathogens.

Check your disinfectant to make sure it has a claim of effectiveness on RSV.

READ:  How to Implement a High Touch Disinfecting Program in Your Facility


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Multi-Clean Brand Disinfectants with claims for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)


128 E-Fecticide Disinfectant approved for use with electrostatic sprayers

Concentrated kills RSV

Century Q 256 Disinfectant Cleaner in 2 Liter bottle

Concentrated Kills RSV

Visit our disinfectant page for more information

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