RSV, the “respiratory syncytial virus”, is the virus at the origin of a very common respiratory infection in infants; however, it can occur at any age.

How is an RSV infection diagnosed? 

A clinical diagnosis is usually sufficient. In the infant, the doctor observes the symptoms, listens to the lungs to detect any wheezing and examines the colour of the skin.

Nose and throat swabs

It may be necessary to take a sample of the nose and throat secretions for laboratory analysis to identify the virus involved. 

Blood tests

Used less and less, blood tests can help to establish a diagnosis and eliminate the possibility of other infections.


If the doctor suspects pneumonia he/she may prescribe lung x-rays.

Sciensano centralises and analyses all data provided by the different partners (network of sentinel laboratories and the National Reference Centre) and in this way is able to follow up the evolution of RSV infections.

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