Baby Care

CDC warns of virus that killed a newborn baby in Hamden

CDC warns of virus that killed a newborn baby in Hamden
Written by Publishing Team

Less than three weeks after a 34-day-old baby from Hamden died of parechovirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put out an alert warning doctors of the virus’ increasing prevalence.

The federal agency said it has received reports of parechovirus, or PeV, infections in young infants in multiple states since May.

Human parechoviruses are common childhood germs that could cause no symptoms, mild symptoms or severe illness. Only one species, PeV-A, causes disease in humans, and PeV-A3 most often causes severe illness, the CDC said in its alert Tuesday.

PeV symptoms for children between 6 months and 5 years old include upper respiratory tract infections, fevers and rashes. However, symptoms of PeV get worse for younger patients. Infants less than three months old could present symptoms such as sepsis-like illness, seizures and meningitis, according to the CDC.

Ronan Delancy was born healthy on May 21. Just 34 days later, he died from the virus.

Ten days after Ronan was born, his mother noticed the newborn had a rash on his cheeks, a redness on his chest. and was less active. Later, in a second hospital visit, the infant was having worsening seizures. Doctors put the baby in a medically induced coma and finally discovered what was causing such harm: the parechovirus.

Though Ronan’s family hoped he would survive, he died on June 24 — at 34 days old — in his mother’s arms.

Though the CDC said it has received multiple reports of the virus across the country, the agency cannot compare this year’s cases to previous years as there is “no systematic surveillance” for the virus in the United States.

“PeV laboratory testing has become more widely available in recent years, and it is possible that increased testing has led to a higher number of PeV diagnoses compared with previous years,” the CDC added.

The CDC advised clinicians in an alert Tuesday to consider PeV as a potential diagnosis when infants present certain symptoms.

The health agency noted that there is no specific treatment for PeV infection, but a diagnosis in infants could change management strategies and “provide important health information for families.”

Both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients can transmit PeV through the fecal-oral route, or when fecal particles end up in the mouth of another person, or respiratory routes, such as through saliva or droplets from coughing, sneezing or talking.

The virus most often circulates in the summer and fall, the CDC said.

This story included previous reporting from Jordan Fenster.

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