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Study: RSV often milder than flu in older adults
Date:12/18/2013

cold-like in most instances and include congested or runny nose, dry cough, low-grade fever, sore throat and headache. In severe cases, the contagious virus causes high fever, severe cough, wheezing, rapid breathing and bluish color of the skin due to lack of oxygen.

"Influenza gets a lot of attention this time of the year and for good reason – it's a serious illness that affects thousands of people," said MCRF epidemiologist Maria Sundaram, one of the study's lead authors. "Although this study showed RSV may lead to fewer complications than flu, it still has the potential to cause serious respiratory illness, especially in older adults with weakened immune systems or other pre-existing conditions."

Further work is needed to understand why older adults are more susceptible to RSV than other groups, MCRF researchers said. For the study, scientists including Dr. Jennifer Meece, director of MCRF's Core Laboratory, studied nasal and throat swabs from patients age 50 and older recruited for influenza vaccine effectiveness studies from 2004-10. MedImmune, LLC, provided funding for this study.

Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation (MCRF), a division of Marshfield Clinic, was founded in 1959. It's the largest private medical research institute in Wisconsin. MCRF consists of research centers in clinical research, agricultural health and safety, epidemiology, human genetics, and biomedical informatics. Marshfield Clinic investigators publish extensively in peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals addressing a wide range of diseases and other health issues, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, eye disease, neurological disease, pediatrics, radiology, women's health, agricultural safety and genetics.

The Marshfield Clinic system provides patient care, research and education with more than 50 locations in northern, central and western
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