New South Wales, Australia, has seen a spike in cases of the Human Metapneumovirus (HMPV), almost double the number recorded last week.
Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) has been on the medical radar since the early 2000s and NSW authorities say the number of weekly cases has jumped from 648 at the beginning of the month to 1,168 in the week ending September 17.
University of Sydney senior researcher and virologist John-Sebastian Eden said the symptoms were similar to that of a common cold. You can guess by the “pneuma” in the name.
Its symptoms are very similar to those of COVID-19, the flu, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
“For most healthy adults, you probably wouldn’t be a differentiator from COVID or flu … or just really having a cold or having a bad cough,” he said.
Dr. Eden said there are no antiviral drugs used to treat HMPV, nor is there a vaccine.
“There are no specific drugs for these viruses. So it’s just managing the symptoms until the immune system kicks in and takes care of the virus,” he said.
“If you’re sick, stay at home, wash your hands, look after your kids if they’ve got some infection or something like that, and just stay away from other people if you’ve got a respiratory infection.”
If you have the virus, NSW Health advice is to:
- Stay home if you have cold or flu symptoms
- Wash or sanitize your hands often
- Wear a mask in crowded, indoor places
- Get together outdoors or in large, well-ventilated spaces with open doors and windows
- Don’t visit people who are at higher risk of severe illness if you have cold or flu symptoms.