CHO Health Alert: Novel Human Parechovirus (HPeV) Strain in Victoria

23 August, 2019

Status: Active

Date issued: 22 Aug 2019

Issued by: Dr Brett Sutton, Chief Health Officer, Victoria

Issued to: Health professionals, medical pathologists

Key messages

  • An uncommon strain of human parechovirus (HPeV type 5) has been identified in Victoria.
  • Six cases of HPeV have been identified since February 2019. All cases have been in neonates.
  • HPeV is usually spread from person-to-person through contact with respiratory droplets, saliva or faeces from an infected person.
  • HPeV occurs commonly in the general population, and usually causes a mild respiratory and gastrointestinal illness in young children.
  • Some strains can cause a severe sepsis-like and neurological illness in neonates and young infants.
  • HPeV is not currently detected using standard enterovirus tests used in most pathology services.
  • Parechovirus PCR should specifically be requested in cases of severe illness, and if not available from local pathology providers, can be accessed through the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL).
  • No specific therapy is available; treatment is aimed at symptom relief and supportive care.
  • Good hygiene practices are vital to protect against gastrointestinal illnesses, including HPeV infection.
  • No vaccine is available to prevent HPeV infection.

Read the full alert:  Novel Human Parechovirus (HPeV) Strain in Victoria

Authorised by the Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne.