Healthy individuals with RSV are usually contagious for three to eight days, as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. RSV infection in some babies and individuals with weakened immune systems can remain contagious for as long as four weeks.
RSV is spread when an infected person sneezes or coughs, as droplets containing the virus can then linger briefly in the air, infecting others when these droplets come into contact with their eyes, nose or mouth. Infection can also occur when a person comes into direct or indirect contact with an infected individual's nasal or oral secretions. RSV can live on hard surfaces for hours at a time. To prevent the spread of RSV, frequent hand washing, covering sneezes and coughs, avoiding kissing and the sharing of utensils, and cleaning contaminated surfaces are all recommended by the CDC.