23 infants hospitalized in Tennessee with parechovirus, CDC warns
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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning doctors about the spread of parechovirus, a common viral infection that can cause serious illness in infants under three months old.
From April 12 to May 24 of this year, 23 infants were admitted to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, for treatment for parechovirus, according to a CDC report.
On July 12, the CDC issued a health advisory to clinicians and public health departments to raise awareness of circulating parechovirus.
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Although parechovirus (or PeV) is common in children aged 6 months to 5 years, it can be more severe in infants, causing sepsis-like illness, seizures and meningitis or meningoencephalitis, said the CDC.
In its health advisory, the CDC said parechovirus has no defined treatment, but proper diagnosis could change doctors’ management strategies for the disease in infants.
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Signs and symptoms of parechovirus can include fever, irritability and poor diet, the CDC said.
In its July 29 report, the CDC called the 23 childhood parechovirus cases at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital an “unusually large cluster of infections.”
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Of the 23 cases, 21 infants recovered without complications, the CDC said. Of the other two, one child could be at risk for hearing loss and blood clots, while the other could be at risk for severe developmental delay, according to the CDC report.
The infants were all aged 5 days to 3 months, with a median age of 24 days. Ten patients were male and 13 were female.
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Of the 23 cases at Nashville Children’s Hospital, 22 infants became symptomatic in their community, while one — a preemie — began showing symptoms in the NICU, the CDC said in its report.
To prevent parechovirus, doctors recommend washing your hands, avoiding contact with sick people and disinfecting household surfaces, according to kidshealth.org.