Human Metapneumovirus (hMPV)

What is Human Metapneumovirus?

  • hMPV is a respiratory virus that causes both upper and lower respiratory tract infections in people of all ages.
  • hMPV infections usually occur in late winter and early spring.
  • This virus most often affects:
    • young infants
    • elderly
    • individuals with weakened immune systems

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How can I get hMPV?

  • The virus is spread through:
    • droplets in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
    • direct contact with discharges from the nose or throat of an infected person.

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What are the symptoms of hMPV?

  • The normally expected symptoms include:
    • Fever
    • Runny nose or nasal congestion
    • Cough
    • Wheezing
    • Sore throat or hoarseness
    • Myalgia

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What are the complications of hMPV?

  • The complications of hMPV are:
    • Pneumonia
    • Bronchiolitis
    • Otitis media
    • Diarrhoea

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Who is most at risk for complications from hMPV?

  • Human metapneumovirus can cause serious complications (problems) in:
    • Children less than 1 year of age and the elderly
    • People who have underlying medical conditions such as:
    • problems with their immune system
    • lung conditions (chronic lung disease and severe asthma)
    • organ transplant recipients

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If I have contact with hMPV, how long does it take to become ill?

  • Although it is not entirely known, most people will be come sick between 3 - 5 days after contact with the virus.

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How can I stop the spread of hMPV?

  • Stay home if you are sick. Don’t spread germs.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of tissues.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough into your sleeve.
  • Wash your hands frequently and wash them well.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers if soap and water are not available.
  • Germs are often carried on your hands. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Clean hard surfaces that are handled regularly such as doorknobs, toys and telephones.

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How is hMPV diagnosed?

  • In order to diagnose hMPV your doctor needs to swab the back of your nasal passages through your nose but this virus is only tested for in outbreak situations.

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How is hMPV treated?

  • Treatment is with supportive measures like fever reducers, medications to control cough, antihistamines and comfort measures.

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Who can I call for more information?

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