respiratory syncytial virus

noun

plural respiratory syncytial viruses
1
: a pneumovirus (species Human orthopneumovirus of the genus Orthopneumovirus) that usually causes mild infections of the upper respiratory tract and lungs, that is spread through contact with respiratory droplets, and that is characterized especially by fever, cough, congestion, and runny nose but may progress to bronchiolitis and pneumonia especially in infants, the elderly, and immunocompromised individuals
Respiratory viruses like COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus often spread and peak during winter, when people travel for the holidays and spend more time indoors and breathing the same air.Jessica Rendall
Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms in most people. … Infections typically go away on their own in a week or two.Ema Sasic

Note: Respiratory syncytial virus was initially identified in 1956 and was formerly classified as a paramyxovirus.

called also RSV

2
: the illness caused by respiratory syncytial virus
Symptoms of respiratory syncytial virus are comparable to those of a common cold and COVID-19. Symptoms include runny nose, fever, coughing, sneezing, decreased appetite and wheezing.Tyler Brown
An unseasonably early spike in respiratory syncytial virus cases among young children is pushing some hospitals to capacity.Vanessa Romo

called also RSV

Examples of respiratory syncytial virus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Influenza has dropped more dramatically, down to about 6.5%, after reaching nearly 19% at the end of December. Hospitalizations for both, and for respiratory syncytial virus — or RSV — are down to a fraction of their recent peaks, according to data from the California Department of Public Health. Harriet Blair Rowan, The Mercury News, 19 Feb. 2024 Influenza and the respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, are still circulating at high numbers, and there are hundreds of other viruses that can cause cold-like symptoms. Katia Hetter, CNN, 12 Feb. 2024 Several new vaccines are listed for children and adults, including the latest for Covid-19 and shots for respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, and mpox. Dominique Mosbergen, WSJ, 11 Jan. 2024 The Olympian tested negative for COVID-19, the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Sean Neumann, Peoplemag, 8 Jan. 2024 The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Beijing Children’s Hospital told the WHO on Thursday that there’s been increases in outpatient visits and hospitalizations due to the spread of mycoplasma pneumoniae, respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus and influenza. Bloomberg, Fortune, 24 Nov. 2023 And only a small percentage of people are masking or taking other precautions in public despite a new wave of covid, flu, and respiratory syncytial virus infections hospitalizing and killing seniors. Judith Graham, Fortune Well, 10 Feb. 2024 Hospitalizations for respiratory syncytial virus appear to already have peaked for the season, according to state data. Angela Roberts, Baltimore Sun, 8 Jan. 2024 Many pathogens that circulate in the Northern Hemisphere’s winter and year-round—including flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and now COVID—are far from benign and can lead to pneumonia in some cases. Tara Haelle, Scientific American, 19 Dec. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'respiratory syncytial virus.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1957, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of respiratory syncytial virus was in 1957

Dictionary Entries Near respiratory syncytial virus

Cite this Entry

“Respiratory syncytial virus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/respiratory%20syncytial%20virus. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Medical Definition

respiratory syncytial virus

noun
1
: a pneumovirus (species Human orthopneumovirus of the genus Orthopneumovirus) that usually causes mild infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract, that is spread through contact with respiratory droplets, and that is characterized especially by fever, coughing, congestion, and runny nose but may progress to bronchiolitis and pneumonia especially in infants, the elderly, and immunocompromised individuals
Respiratory syncytial virus is the most important respiratory pathogen causing lower respiratory tract infection in infants and young children.David W. Smith et al., The New England Journal of Medicine

Note: Respiratory syncytial virus was initially identified in 1956 and was formerly classified as a paramyxovirus. Cells infected with the virus typically fuse with adjacent cells to form multinucleate syncytia.

called also RSV

2
: the illness caused by respiratory syncytial virus
… an expanding array of synthetic drugs is being clinically tested against many viral infections. … A handful already have been approved for medical use against herpes, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus …, a common respiratory infection that usually is mild but can be life threatening to infants in poor health.Roland K. Robins, Chemical & Engineering News

called also RSV

More from Merriam-Webster on respiratory syncytial virus

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