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May 27, 1961

Respiratory Syncytial Virus

JAMA. 1961;176(8):647-667. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040210001001

In a controlled study respiratory syncytial (RS) virus was recovered from 57 per cent of young infants with bronchiolitis or pneumonia during a 5-month period when the agent was prevalent in Washington, D. C. The virus was also recovered from older infants and children with pneumonia or bronchiolitis and from a significant proportion (12 per cent) of young patients with a milder febrile respiratory disease. RS virus infection appeared to occur in sharp outbreaks which lasted 3 to 5 months and which coincided with the peak occurrence of bronchiolitis. The 3-year serologic experience suggested that 21 per cent of serious lower respiratory tract illness in infants and small children was associated with RS virus. These findings suggest that RS virus is a respiratory pathogen of major significance during early life.