CPS updates recommendations for use of palivizumab against RSV
This is a guest blog post written by Katie Olsen, a Media Relations Coordinator for the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS).
Last month, the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) updated its recommendations on the use of palivizumab, an antibody used to prevent respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Almost all children get RSV at least once before they are two years old. In most children, the virus causes an upper respiratory tract infection (a cold), which doesn’t need either treatment or hospitalization.
RSV is also the leading cause of lower respiratory tract infections (bronchiolitis or pneumonia) in young children. Infection is most severe in young babies, especially those with congenital heart or chronic lung disease.
There is evidence that the risk of RSV hospitalization does not warrant the use of palivizumab in many infants for whom it was previously recommended. Significant advances in neonatology have led to healthier infants. The administration of palivizumab, which is given once monthly by injection, is no longer routinely recommended for babies born after 30 weeks unless they have chronic lung disease or congenital heart disease.
Good hand hygiene at home, especially around young children, is important to help reduce the spread of illness. People who are sick should wash their hands with soap and water before touching a child or preparing food. Other ways to lower the risk of respiratory illness in babies and young children include breastfeeding and avoiding exposure to cigarette smoke.