Australia alarm over parechovirus

    Australia alarm over parechovirus

    April 22, Sydney: A new virus “parechovirus” seen in the babies in Australia can cause developmental delays and brain damage, a study shows.

    According to a study by the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID), more than 100 Australian babies were hospitalised with
    parechovirus in 2013 and 2014. One year later, doctors found that many of these babies had developmental problems.

    No specific treatment or vaccine is currently available for the virus.

    Babies infected with the virus suffered from symptoms such as seizures, irritability and muscle twitches, according to ASID.

    ASID president Prof Cheryl Jones said in a statement that, "This is a new virus and we know very little about it. This study is helping improve our understanding of some of the long-term consequences of infection in children and the results are concerning."

    According to ASID, arechovirus was identified in Europe just over a decade ago.

    However, Australia recently recorded one of the world's largest outbreaks, starting in Sydney in late 2013.

    ASID said over 100 babies were hospitalised in Sydney alone during this outbreak, with 70% of these children suffering from neurological infection.

    The new study successfully followed up on 46 out of 79 of the infants, with half of them showing some developmental issues at 12 months.

    Nearly 20 percent of the children had developed significant neurological problems.

    The virus is spread by contact with bodily fluids such as airborne droplets of saliva, in the same way as the common cold.

    The Oslo Times


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