CDC Urges Doctors to Look Out for Virus in Babies

Parechovirus can cause severe illness in infants younger than 3 months
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2022 12:26 PM CDT
CDC Issues Warning on Virus That Can Cause Seizures in Babies
It's possible that increased testing has led to a higher number of parechovirus diagnoses recently, the CDC says.   (Getty Images/AnnaStills)

It's not clear whether a virus that can cause severe illness in babies is more prevalant than it used to be or whether increased testing is identifying more cases—but either way, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging doctors and public health departments to look out for cases of parechovirus. The CDC says the virus has been detected among infants younger than 3 months old in multiple states since May, NBC reports. The agency says the virus, which tends to spread in the summer and fall, is a common childhood pathogen that most children have had by the time they start kindergarten, but it is most dangerous when it infects babies, especially newborns.

"In infants less than 3 months, severe illness can occur, including sepsis-like illness, seizures, and meningitis or meningoencephalitis, particularly in infants younger than 1 month," a CDC alert says. The agency says health care providers should consider parechovirus as a possible diagnosis for infants "presenting with fever, sepsis-like syndrome, or neurologic illness (seizures, meningitis) without another known cause." In older children, symptoms include rashes, fevers, and upper respiratory tract infections. (More CDC stories.)

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