Respiratory syncytial virus enters your body through your eyes, nose or mouth. It spreads easily when infectious respiratory secretions — such as those from coughing or sneezing — are inhaled or passed to others through direct contact, such as shaking hands. The virus can also live for hours on objects such as countertops and toys. Touch your mouth, nose or eyes after touching a contaminated object, and you're likely to acquire the virus.

An infected person is most contagious in the first few days after infection, but respiratory syncytial virus may spread for up to a few weeks after the start of infection.

Jul. 29, 2011