A New Virus

A New Virus

The July 2002 issue of Infectious Diseases in Children tells the story of a new respiratory virus, first identified last year. Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) appears to be a significant cause of infections in children. A relative of RSV, this virus appears to be quite common. Evidence of infection has been found in up to 25 percent of babies studied between 6 and 12 months old.

Many moderate to severe cases of bronchiolitis or other viral lower respiratory tract infections that were not caused by RSV may have been caused by hMPV.

A lot remains to be learned about this virus, but it is our identification of the virus that is new – not the virus itself. Recently tested blood samples from half a century ago show that the virus has been common for a long time.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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