Learn about human metapneumovirus (hMPV)
hMPV (human metapneumovirus) is an upper and/or lower respiratory tract virus. It can affect the throat, mouth, and nose. This virus triggers a classic infection, like the common cold. Patients often develop it in winter or early spring, alongside the flu season. At least 4 lineages of hMPV exist: A1, A2, B1, and B2.
This virus is a common trigger for respiratory tract infections in the elderly, adults, children, and immunocompromised patients. Overall, this is not a serious illness. Most people have a couple of symptoms, which tend to dissipate on their own. Lower respiratory tract infections due to hMPV can lead to worsening acute asthma symptoms, bronchiolitis, and pneumonia.
This disease spreads from an infected person through close contact. It spreads through respiratory droplets with an incubation period of around 3 to 6 days. It quickly spreads into the respiratory tract.
hMPV is most commonly recorded in pediatric patients. It can occur in children younger than 2 years. Around 90% to 100% of children are infected by hMPV by the time they turn 5 to 10 years old.
Roughly 5% to 10% of pediatric hospitalizations occur due to hMPV triggering acute lower respiratory infections. In fact, children who are younger than 6 months and have hMPV were 3 times as likely to be hospitalized compared to patients between the ages of 6 months to 5 years.
The gold standard for treating is supportive medicine, which includes hydration with IV fluids, antipyretic agents, and supplemental oxygen. Severe hMPV infection has been linked to premature birth including heart disorders, pulmonary, and immunocompromised status.
Moderna has started a clinical trial against the virus. As of 2019, the vaccine passed the first phase for being well-tolerated. However, more research is necessary to study the impact of this vaccine.