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A majority of Americans are concerned about the health threat posed by the respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, and are particularly worried that their children or older relatives may contract the illness, according to a new survey by STAT and The Harris Poll.

Nearly half of Americans — or 46% — say they are familiar with RSV, a common respiratory virus that has made headlines because it can be especially serious for infants and older adults. Last fall, scores of infants and toddlers across the United States were hospitalized with RSV, overwhelming hospitals already strained by other viruses, such as influenza.


The episode appears to have left an impression. The survey found that 71% of Americans who are familiar with the virus are concerned their children may contract RSV and 57% reported the same worry for their older parents and relatives. In general, 58% of those familiar with the virus responded that they are concerned more broadly and 46% worry they may also contract RSV.

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