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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2014, Article ID 850831, 6 pages
Review Article

Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections in Infants Affected by Primary Immunodeficiency

1Pediatrics and Neonatology Unit, Imola Hospital, Via Montericco 4, 40026 Imola, Italy
2DIMEC, Neonatology and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, St. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, Via Massarenti 11, University of Bologna, 40138 Bologna, Italy
3DIMES, Clinical Microbiology Unit, Laboratory of Virology, St. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, Via Massarenti 9, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Received 5 May 2014; Revised 11 June 2014; Accepted 12 June 2014; Published 25 June 2014

Academic Editor: Roshini Sarah Abraham

Copyright © 2014 Marcello Lanari et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Primary immunodeficiencies are rare inherited disorders that may lead to frequent and often severe acute respiratory infections. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is one of the most frequent pathogens during early infancy and the infection is more severe in immunocompromised infants than in healthy infants, as a result of impaired T- and B-cell immune response unable to efficaciously neutralize viral replication, with subsequent increased viral shedding and potentially lethal lower respiratory tract infection. Several authors have reported a severe clinical course after RSV infections in infants and children with primary and acquired immunodeficiencies. Environmental prophylaxis is essential in order to reduce the infection during the epidemic season in hospitalized immunocompromised infants. Prophylaxis with palivizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody against the RSV F protein, is currently recommended in high-risk infants born prematurely, with chronic lung disease or congenital heart disease. Currently however the prophylaxis is not routinely recommended in infants with primary immunodeficiency, although some authors propose the extension of prophylaxis to this high risk population.