Background Human parechoviruses (HPeVs) belong to Parechovirus genus and have recently been added to the Picornaviridae family. Their epidemiology, pathogenicity and virulence is only beginning to be understood. Neonates, infants and young children seem to be the most susceptible subjects. The clinical presentation is similar to that of enterovirus infections. HPeV type 3 has been reported to cause neonatal infection, presenting with central nervous system symptoms or a sepsis-like illness.
Objective As part of a prospective study on neonatal sepsis, we aimed to assess the importance of HPeV as a cause of infection in the neonatal period.
Materials and methods During the period October 2012 – December 2014, term newborns (0–28 days) admitted to the NICU for a suspected infection (defined by clinical or analytical sepsis, fever without a source, or neurological symptoms) are included in the study. Neonates with clear respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms are excluded. A screening for bacterial and viral infection is performed. In negative cases, a real-time-RT-PCR for HPeV detection is performed in cerebrospinal fluids.
Results We present the data for the first 18 months of the study period. 28 newborns were included in the study. There were 2 confirmed cases of HPeV-3 infection. Both presented in May 2013, with fever of unknown origin, and had normal cerebrospinal fluid analysis. Case 1 was 6 days old. Case 2 was 19 days old and during the hospitalisation period developed diarrhoea and respiratory apneas requiring oxygen support. Both had a favourable evolution.
Conclusions Clinicians should include HPeV in the differential diagnosis of neonatal infection.