JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Parechovirus is spreading across multiple states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. News4JAX spoke with UF Health Chief of Infectious Disease, Dr. Mobeen Rathore about it.
“It’s not a new virus, we’ve known about it for several years,” said Dr. Rathore.
Officials said the cases belong to a subtype called A3, which is linked to more severe diseases in newborns and infants.
“You can get a respiratory infection, you have infection of the gastrointestinal system. The real worry about Parechovirus is neonates who may present with meningitis and nervous system signs and symptoms,” Dr. Rathore said.
According to the CDC, fever and rash are common symptoms in children 6 months to 5 years old. The CDC’s alert doesn’t say which states have seen the infections in young children or how many cases have been reported. Dr. Rathore said an increase in testing for Parechovirus in recent years is likely the reason why there have been more cases.
“We have not been testing routinely locally we have tested a few babies and we have seen some, but very few,” said Dr. Rathore.
According to Dr. Rathore, there is no specific way to treat the virus, just supportive therapy.
“Any virus can be deadly, but most of the time this virus is not. It can have some serious outcomes though,” said Dr. Rathore.
We asked if the virus is something to be concerned about.
“Not anymore than previously,” said Dr. Rathore.
He added that there is not a vaccine for Parechovirus. Like most viruses, Parechovirus can last between two to 10 days.