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Virus Which Causes Brain And Blood Infections In Babies On The Rise

Here's what you need to know

new study published in the Medical Journal of Australia reveals the alarming rise of human parechovirus (HPeV) in babies and young children.

The contagious disease, which was first diagnosed in Australia in 2013, appears to have outbreak cycles with the study’s authors noting the number of children diagnosed is on the rise. 

Mild cases usually aren’t a concern, Dr Cheryl Jones says, however, more severe “can manifest as meningoencephalitis, seizures or sepsis-like presentations (including septic shock), or less common presentations including signs of surgical abdomen.”

Children under three-to-six months are particularly vulnerable to HPeV and it pays to note that most parechovirus infections cause no or mild symptoms, including gastroenteritis or influenza-like illness. 

In more severe cases, babies can seem “red, hot and angry.”

“Because of the evidence of adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes following severe HPeV infection, we recommend that all children hospitalised with HPeV infection should be followed up by a pediatrician at least until school entry, and preferably afterwards, to monitor development and learning, and manage complications including seizures,” the authors concluded. 

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