The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States issued a health alert because of a common childhood virus called parechovirus, which can cause serious illness in the infants younger than 3 months, and is spreading rapidly in United States.
Since May 2022, the agency has received reports from health providers in many US states of young infants and newborns being infected with the virus, which tends to spread in the summer and fall seasons. The US CDC is also encouraging clinicians to consider the parechovirus as a possible diagnosis in infants with fever, or seizures, and meningitis when no other cause is apparent.
Parechovirus infection can cause a spectrum of diseases in human beings, starting from asymptomatic to serious illness. The US CDC also noted the virus is very common in childhood, with most kids having been infected by the time they start school. In children between 6 months and 5 years old, the parechovirus usually causes an upper respiratory tract infection, rash, and fever.
In infants less than 3 months old, the parechovirus can lead to seizures, swelling of the brain and surrounding tissue, and sickness like sepsis, which often requires hospitalization. The symptoms of Sepsis include fever, sweating, shortness of breath, and extreme pain. The parechovirus infection can also lead to long-term neurodevelopment problems.