RSV is a well-known cause of severe respiratory illness in infants but is also linked to an increased risk of hospitalization and death in older adults. RSV circulates widely during the winter months at the same time as influenza and other respiratory viruses, and until recently, its impact on older adults has gone largely unrecognized. "It is nearly impossible to distinguish between influenza and RSV infections based on symptoms alone," says Edward Walsh, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, who has conducted multiple studies on the burden of RSV in older adults.
The misperception that RSV is of little to no consequence in older adults has slowed drug and vaccine development for this age group. Several vaccines and treatment options are currently in development with a hope that they will be available in the near future. NFID has developed tools and resources to help raise awareness about the burden of disease and the importance of disease prevention among the older adult population. Resources include webinars, reports, and infographics targeted to both healthcare professionals and consumers.