The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a health advisory alerting public health officials of a growing number of parechovirus (PeV) cases. According to the organization, “Since May 2022, CDC has received reports from healthcare providers in multiple states of PeV infections in neonates and young infants.”
Parechovirus is a common viral infection that can affect adults and children. For adults and older children, the symptoms of the virus are typically mild and may include vomiting, fever, gastrointestinal problems, or a rash. Symptoms may not be visible in some individuals.
In newborns and babies under the age of 3 months old, symptoms caused by PeV can be severe and include high fever, fast heart rate, and low blood pressure. PeV infections can also lead to potentially life-threatening complications such as:
- Sepsis-like illness
Parechovirus is highly contagious, spreading from person to person by way of contact with respiratory droplets (sneezing or coughing) or by fecal-oral route, meaning fecal material of an infected person is ingested by another person. You can also catch the virus by touching objects that are contaminated and then later touching your nose or mouth.
PeV infections are more common in the spring, summer, and fall months. However, transmission can be prevented by practicing proper hand hygiene; especially after diaper changes, covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough, disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces, and staying away from those who are sick.
If your child is displaying signs of a parechovirus infection, consult your pediatrician immediately or seek emergency medical care. An early diagnosis and treatment can reduce the risk of complications. Treatment for mild symptoms may include getting plenty of rest and fluids and taking over-the-counter medications. Hospitalization may be required for younger babies and children with more severe symptoms.
To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-670-5486.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.