The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning doctors about the spread of parechovirus, a common viral infection that can cause severe illness among babies younger than three months old.
From April 12 to May 24 this year, 23 infants were admitted to Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, to receive treatment for parechovirus, according to a report from the CDC.
On July 12, the CDC issued a health advisory to doctors and public health departments to make them aware of the circulating hypertrophic virus.
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Although parechovirus (or PeV) is common in children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years, it can be more severe for infants, causing sepsis-like illness, seizures and meningitis or meningitis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in its health advisory, said parechovirus has no specific treatment, but a proper diagnosis could change doctors’ management strategies for the disease in infants.
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Its signs and symptoms can include fever, confusion, and poor nutrition, the CDC said.
In its July 29 report, the CDC described 23 infant parechovirus cases at Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital as an “unusually large cluster of infections.”
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Of the 23 cases, 21 infants recovered without complications, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The CDC report found that of the remaining two children, one could be at risk of hearing loss and blood clots, while the other could be at risk of severe developmental delay.
All children ranged in age from 5 days to 3 months, with a mean of 24 days. Ten patients were male and 13 were female.
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In its report, the CDC said that of the 23 cases at Children’s Hospital in Nashville, 22 infants in their community developed symptoms, while one — a premature infant — started symptoms in a neonatal intensive care unit.
To prevent parechovirus, doctors recommend washing hands, avoiding contact with sick people and keeping household surfaces disinfected, according to kidshealth.org.