March 5, 2012
Vulnerable populations are "those with a greater than average risk of developing health problems by virtue of their marginalized socio-cultural status, their limited access to economic resources, or personal characteristics such as age and gender" (De Chesnay & Anderson, 2008). Infants and young children are vulnerable to a host of healthcare problems, they are susceptible to viral infection especially respiratory infection such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus. In this paper, the author will define and describe epidemiological triangle as it relates to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), types of ...view middle of the document...
Epidemiological triangle can be applied to better understand the transmission of RSV. Epidemiological triangle have three parts: agent or the "what" , is the cause of the disease: host or the "who" is an organism harboring the disease; and environment or the "where" are those factors that cause or allow disease transmission. In RSV transmission, the agent is RSV. RSV is the leading cause of lower respiratory infection in infants and young children (host). Infants who have congenital abnormalities of the airway, neuromuscular disease, congenital heart disease, and infants who were born premature have a higher risk of developing RSV. RSV has been recognized for at least 100 years. The virus start out in the upper respiratory tract in respiratory epithelial cells. The spread of the virus down the respiratory tract happens by call to call transfer along intracytoplasmic bridges (snycytia) from upper respiratory tract to lower respiratory tract (Medscape, 2011). RSV "enters its host through the mucous membranes of the mouth, eyes, or nose. Proteins found on the viral surface cause neighboring uninfected cells to fuse with infected cells, spreading viral progeny from cell to cell. The fusion of cell membranes creates syncytia, which initiate the release of inflammatory cells and mucus buildup in the lungs. The incubation period is 4 to 5 days" (Lawrence, P. 2011). Most infants will have this infection by the age of 2. RSV is very contagious, it can be spread through droplets when someone sneezes or coughs with the virus. The virus can also live on surfaces, hands, clothing (environment), and can be spread by touching someone who are contaminated with the virus (KidsHealth, 2012).
Respiratory Syncytial Virus is the most common germ that causes lung and airway infections in infants and young children. RSV spreads rapidly in day care centers and crowded households. The virus can live for half hour or more on hands and can live up to five hours on countertops, and several hours on used tissues. Infants and young children who are attending day care, being near tobacco smoke, living in crowded conditions, and having school-aged brothers or sisters have an increased risk for RSV (PubMed Health, 2011). RSV infections generally occur during fall, winter and early spring in a temperate climates. The severity and timing of RSV circulation vary from year to year in a given community. Symptoms of RSV varies depending on the child's age. Symptoms usually appear 4 to 6 days after coming in contact with the virus. Mild symptoms such as cold-like symptoms, cough, stuffy nose, sore throat, headache and low-grade fever usually occur in older children. Severe symptoms such as cyanosis, labored breathing, croupy cough, reduced appetite, tachypnea, wheezing and fever usually occur in infants under the age of one. Mild infections usually go away without treatment, however infants and children with severe RSV infection needs to be...