Molecular testing for the respiratory syncytial virus is used to determine with certainty if an infection is due to the specific virus.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) causes respiratory tract infections in patients of all ages. The respiratory syncytial virus is the leading cause of lower respiratory tract infections during infancy and childhood.
The virus is widespread and mainly causes epidemic respiratory infections in infants and young children. The virus is highly contagious and more than 50% of all children up to the age of one year have already been exposed to the virus and almost all children have been infected by the virus by the age of 2-3.
RSV invades the epithelial cells of the upper respiratory tract and results in the formation of characteristic large syncytia (i.e., the fusion of many cells). The virus spreading to the tissues is likely by cell-to-cell fusion. The necrosis of these syncytia creates inflammatory secretions and obstruction of the respiratory tract, leading to various problems. Subsequently, viruses spreading to the lower respiratory system can lead to swelling and collapse of the alveoli.
In most patients, respiratory syncytial virus infection causes only mild symptoms, often difficult to distinguish from the common cold and other mild respiratory infections. 75% of all these infections in infants, appear as harmless rhinitis or rhinopharyngitis, and complications such as otitis are rarely seen. The respiratory syncytial virus can cause bronchiolitis and pneumonia, leading to severe respiratory illness requiring hospitalization. The most severe forms of the disease are more likely to occur in immunosuppressed patients or premature infants.
In temperate climates, there is an annual RSV outbreak pattern during the winter months. In tropical climates, infection is more common during the rainy season.
Natural infection with the respiratory syncytial virus does not induce protective immunity so people can repeatedly become infected and sick.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.