Little-talked-about virus and its spike in cases in spring: What you need to know

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that cases of the virus have increased this spring Human metapneumovirus, or HMPVA stealthy respiratory virus known for more than two decades with symptoms similar to Covid-19 and influenza.

According to the CDC, HMPV cases filled hospital intensive care units in mid-March. Almost 11% of PCR tests Tested positive for HMPV, a 36% more This was 7% test positive, well above the average seasonal peak before the Covid-19 pandemic.

In antigen detection tests of hospitalized patients, the four weeks of March were the highest for this respiratory virus. 19.39% positive in the first week of that month.

HMPV, an underestimated virus

Human metapneumovirus can cause upper and lower respiratory tract illness in people of all ages, especially young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems, according to the CDC.

Discovered in 2001, HMPV belongs to the Pneumoviridae family along with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The widespread use of molecular diagnostic tests has increased the recognition and awareness of HMPV as a major cause of upper and lower respiratory tract infection.

Studies show that HMPV is an underrated virus. In America, every year It causes many infections such as influenza and respiratory syncytial virus. In a study of samples collected from patients over two decades, it was the second most common cause of respiratory infections in children after RSV.

What symptoms does HMPV show?

Symptoms commonly associated with HMPV include: Cough, fever, stuffy nose and shortness of breath, So it can be confused with RSV, influenza or Covid-19.

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Clinical symptoms of HMPV infection, the CDC says, can progress to bronchitis or pneumonia and are similar to other viruses that cause upper and lower respiratory tract infections.

“The estimated incubation period is 3 to 6 days, and the average duration of illness varies with severity, but is similar to other respiratory infections caused by viruses,” they maintain.

Transmission of HMPV from one infected person to others is similar to that of other respiratory viruses and It is secreted during coughing and sneezing, Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands, touching objects or surfaces that have the virus, and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

In the United States, HMPV is transmitted during different seasons. The HMPV cycle starts in winter and lasts until spring. HMPV, RSV, and influenza can spread simultaneously during respiratory virus season, the CDC says.

There is currently no specific antiviral therapy to treat HMPV or a vaccine to prevent HMPV. Medical care is supportive.

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Eden Hayes

"Wannabe gamer. Subtly charming beer buff. General pop culture trailblazer. Incurable thinker. Certified analyst."

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