Enterovirus and Human Parechovirus: A Closer Look at Childhood Pathogens

In July 2022, the CDC issued a health alert for human parechovirus (HPeV), a pathogen that has been shown to cause severe illness in infants as young as one month.1 HPeVs along with enteroviruses (EVs) are part of the Picornaviridae family and are common causes of mild respiratory and gastrointestinal infection in children, though more serious illness can occur.  The recent increased diagnosis of sepsis-like illness, meningitis, and encephalitis attributable to HPeV type 3 (HPeV-A3), in particular, has raised the alarm.1

Given that meningitis and neonatal sepsis are the second biggest infectious killers of children under five worldwide, clinicians and ID specialists are encouraged to consider testing for HPeV as well as EV when pediatric patients present with symptoms of neurological infection.2 Below is an overview of the two viruses and how the BIOFIRE® FILMARRAY® Meningitis/Encephalitis (ME) Panel can help quickly identify them to support optimal therapy for neonates and young children.