On January 9th, the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) reported that nosocomial transmission of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has caused one death and fourteen other infections at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre.
Inpatients at the Beatson Centre are usually immunocompromised and at higher risk of infection, and it is thought that the virus was brought in by visiting family or friends. The death has prompted the NHS to remind visitors that they should refrain from visits if they have had cold or flu symptoms in the past 48 hours.
RSV is an orthopneumovirus that typically causes cold symptoms and is highly transmissible by a respiratory route. Infections often peak during the winter months. The incident in Glasgow reminds us just how easily RSV can be transmitted, and how deadly the disease can be in individuals with weaker immune systems. Efforts at creating a vaccine for RSV persist, even though many years ago the work was held back by research suggesting that the formalin-inactivated vaccine increases disease severity.
News Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-38563188
RSV vaccine history: http://www.who.int/immunization/research/meetings_workshops/WHO_RSV_vaccine_history_Graham.pdf
-- Sharon Kam