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Respiratory syncytial virus infection: diagnosis and treatment

The respiratory syncytial virus is a common virus that leaves healthy adults and children with cold-like symptoms, but in babies, it can cause serious respiratory illness. However, testing for RSV infection among pregnant women is uncommon, and when it does occur, it frequently ends in a misdiagnosis. This is according to a study from Clinical Infectious Diseases. Its findings may be of interest to residents of New Jersey.

Researchers state that pregnant women are rarely hospitalized for RSV infection but that those who are usually get a severe case of it. They analyzed over 15,000 pregnant women who were admitted to hospitals for acute respiratory infection or febrile illness. Only 6 percent of these were tested for RSV infection, of that number, 21 came up RSV-positive. Approximately 63 percent of the tests occurred in the third trimester.

Among those who were RSV-positive, asthma was the most frequently reported symptom. They were more frequently diagnosed for pneumonia than RSV-negative women, which means that there is a greater chance for misdiagnosis. Another link that researchers made was between RSV-positive diagnoses and pre-term deliveries.

To prevent RSV infections from endangering infants' lives, clinicians are developing a vaccine. The study's results are not conclusive as they were limited to women in developed countries and could not take into account women outside of hospitals.

Misdiagnoses are a form of medical malpractice, so those who have their life or the life of their child endangered because of an undiagnosed RSV infection may be able to receive compensation. This is where a malpractice attorney may have an inquiry made with the local medical board and negotiate for a fair settlement once the proof has been gathered. If successful, the victim might be reimbursed for past and future medical expenses, lost wages and emotional trauma.

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