Causative Agents

The causative agents are the Sin Nombre, Spanish for "no name," virus and various related hantaviruses that exist at different locations in the Western Hemisphere. The hantaviruses are enveloped viruses of the bunyavirus family. Their genome consists of three

Table 23.12 Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Infections


Runny nose, cough, fever, wheezing, difficulty breathing, dusky color

Incubation period

1 to 4 days

Causative agent

RSV, a paramyxovirus that produces syncytia


Sloughing of respiratory epithelium and inflammatory response plug bronchioles, cause bronchiolitis; pneumonia results from bronchiolar and alveolar inflammation, or secondary infection


Yearly epidemics during the cool months; readily spread by healthy older children and adults who often have mild symptoms; no lasting immunity

Prevention and treatment

No vaccine. Preventable by injections of a monoclonal antibody; no satisfactory antiviral treatment

590 Chapter 23 Respiratory System Infections segments of single-stranded, negative-sense RNA. In nature these viruses cause lifetime infections, primarily of rodents, without any apparent harm to the animals. ■ bunyavirus family, p. 343

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