The highest risk of contracting respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is principally age-related, according to research out of the University of Warwick.
Investigators found the physiological changes associated with growing older, such as increased lung capacity, are more important in reducing the risk of developing severe respiratory disease than previous exposure to the disease.
This finding is significant because it shows that increasing the average age a child is exposed to RSV infection would lead to fewer cases developing into severe respiratory disease, according to the authors. They note one way to accomplish the increased age is through vaccination.
Though a vaccine for the key target age group of babies age 1-3 months doesn't currently exist, the authors suggest the alternative of immunizing parents and older siblings.