Date issued: 22 Aug 2019
Issued by: Dr Brett Sutton, Chief Health Officer, Victoria
Issued to: Health professionals, medical pathologists
- 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.