It has been just reported the fact that there are new studies suggesting the fact that the virus has the ability to infect beyond the respiratory tract. Check out the latest reports about this below.
RSV to damage nerve cells and provoke inflammation
A recent study by Tulane University researchers has found that the respiratory syncytial virus, commonly referred to as RSV, can infect nerve cells and cause inflammation that may damage them.
This study, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, is the first of its kind to suggest that the virus has the ability to penetrate nerve cells, which could explain why some children who contract RSV can experience neurological symptoms.
Typically, RSV results in mild respiratory symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and fever. However, in some cases, it can lead to severe symptoms such as pneumonia or bronchiolitis.
Additionally, 40 percent of children under the age of 2 who have contracted the virus have shown signs of acute encephalopathy, which causes brain dysfunction and can leave a person feeling confused, experiencing memory loss, or changes in their personality.
It has been also revealed the fact that the study indicates the impacts of the illness long after a child has recovered. The report comes at a time when RSV, along with COVID-19 and the flu, overwhelms health care systems each winter.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year 2.1 million children under the age of 5 visit the doctor due to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), out of which between 58,000 and 80,000 are hospitalized. RSV is responsible for the deaths of between 100 and 300 children under the age of 5 annually.
RSV can affect individuals of all ages, but it is particularly harmful to vulnerable populations, including adults over the age of 65.
Every year, between 60,000 and 160,000 seniors aged 65 and older are hospitalized due to RSV, and among these, between 6,000 and 10,000 die from the virus, according to the CDC.
The research team conducted a study to investigate the effects of RSV on the nervous system. They used 3D peripheral nerve cultures that were developed from stem cells and rat embryos.
The team injected RSV into these stem cells and embryos and observed that the cells released chemokines, which are proteins that fight infections. This release of chemokines caused severe inflammation within the cells.
The team also noted that the nerves had different responses to varying concentrations of the virus. When exposed to low levels of RSV, the nerves became hyperreactive to stimulation.
However, when exposed to higher infection levels, the nerves showed increased neurotoxicity and inflammation, leading to their deterioration.
The study suggested that the hyperreactivity and increased inflammation could be the reason why some children with RSV are more likely to experience asthmatic symptoms.
You can check out the complete study in order to learn more details about this.