Facts and figures about RSV

The Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is highly contagious.

Babies, small children and elderly people are most at risk.

RSV can cause upper respiratory infections (such as colds) and lower respiratory tract infections (such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia) and in most severe cases, become life-threatening.

You can be infected with RSV several times during your lifetime. After each RSV infection, your body becomes more immune to the virus, but you are never completely immune.

RSV disease:

a medical, societal, and economic burden

  • RSV is associated with substantial disease burden in infants, young children, and the elderly.

  • Globally, an estimated 33 million young children are diagnosed with RSV disease each year, with over 3 million cases requiring hospitalisation.

  • RSV disease accounts for hospitalisation of 1 in 5 young children under 5 years of age diagnosed with acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI).

  • Annually, RSV causes an estimated 118,000 child deaths worldwide.

  • Every year about 3-6% of all older adults are infected with RSV.
  • RSV poses substantial burden on healthcare services including hospitalisations and outpatient consultations and in industrialised countries about 8% of hospitalised cases are likely to die.

  • Of all acute respiratory track infection patients, RSV accounted for 1-10% in adults and 2-14% in patients with chronic diseases or transplantation.

  • Childhood RSV costs governments around the world nearly 5 billion euros every year.