Deadly Waves: The Resurgence of Human Metapneumovirus (HMPV) in NSWDeadlyWaves,Resurgence,HumanMetapneumovirus,HMPV,NSW
Deadly Waves: The Resurgence of Human Metapneumovirus (HMPV) in NSW

Deadly Waves: The Resurgence of Human Metapneumovirus (HMPV) in NSW

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Human Metapneumovirus (HMPV) Spreading in NSW: Symptoms and Precautions

Rising Cases of Human Metapneumovirus (HMPV) in NSW

NSW Health has reported a significant increase in cases of the lesser-known respiratory virus, Human Metapneumovirus (HMPV). The number of weekly cases has surged from 648 at the beginning of the month to 1,168 in the week ending September 17. While HMPV has been on the medical radar since the early 2000s, it is currently causing notable concern in the community.

Symptoms and Similarities to Other Respiratory Illnesses

HMPV shares symptoms that are similar to those of a common cold, COVID-19, and the flu. According to Dr. John-Sebastian Eden, a senior researcher and virologist at the University of Sydney, it can be challenging to differentiate HMPV from other illnesses without a specific test. He explains that many individuals may not even be aware of the virus until they test positive for it, as the symptoms can be mistaken for other respiratory infections. It is important to note that HMPV does not have distinctive symptoms that set it apart from the flu or COVID-19 for most healthy adults.

Testing and Precautions

Testing for HMPV is typically conducted through a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. However, not all PCRs specifically test for HMPV. In light of this, NSW Health advises individuals to stay home if they experience cold or flu symptoms. Other precautions include regular hand washing or sanitization, wearing masks in crowded indoor spaces, gathering outdoors or in well-ventilated areas, and avoiding visits to individuals at higher risk of severe illness if one has cold or flu symptoms.

No Specific Treatment or Vaccine for HMPV

Unlike some other respiratory illnesses, there are no specific anti-viral drugs or vaccines available for treating HMPV. Dr. Eden explains that managing the symptoms and supporting the immune system are the primary methods for coping with the virus. The emphasis should be on staying home when sick, practicing good hygiene, taking care of children with infections, and avoiding contact with others if one has a respiratory infection.

Vulnerability of Certain Groups

While HMPV typically causes a mild cold in most individuals, young children, older adults, and those with compromised immune systems are at higher risk of complications. Dr. Eden notes that children below five years of age can develop chronic inflammatory diseases after infection, and the virus can cause severe illness in the elderly. While the majority of people will recover within a week, it is important to be vigilant and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or persist.

Possible Reasons for Increased Cases

The surge in HMPV cases in NSW can be attributed to a resurgence of respiratory viruses following the easing of COVID-19 social distancing measures. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, transmission of respiratory viruses was limited due to preventive measures. However, as people have started to resume normal activities and interact more, the spread of respiratory viruses, including HMPV, has increased. The exact reasons for the virus being more common at this time of year are still unclear and require further research.

In Conclusion

The rise in Human Metapneumovirus (HMPV) cases in NSW is a cause for concern, especially for vulnerable populations. While the symptoms of HMPV are similar to other respiratory illnesses, it is crucial to seek proper testing and take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. By practicing good hygiene, wearing masks, and avoiding contact with high-risk individuals, we can collectively mitigate the impact of HMPV and protect our communities.


Deadly Waves: The Resurgence of Human Metapneumovirus (HMPV) in NSW
<< photo by CDC >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.

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How ya going, Australia? Lachlan Reed here, your resident weatherman. I've been deciphering the Aussie skies for the better part of 20 years. From scorchers to drizzlers, I've got you covered. Don't forget your sunnies or brollies when you step out!

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