ALABAMA (WHNT) — It’s not a COVID surge, but lately, another respiratory infection going around is leaving many people coughing and checking their temperatures.
Excessive chest congestion, horrible coughs, fever and shortness of breath make up the symptoms of the Human metapneumovirus (HMPV), which has similar symptoms to COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Despite the number of COVID and RSV cases falling this spring, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that nearly 19.6% of antigen tests and 11% of PCR tests were positive for HMPV, which was first discovered in 2001. That’s a 36% increase from pre-pandemic numbers when the positivity rate was around 7%.
While the warm summer months help cases of cold, flu and other respiratory viruses decline, the number of people suffering from HMPV is still higher than normal.
According to the CDC, the virus can cause upper and lower respiratory disease in all ages, especially young kids, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems. Severe cases could progress to bronchitis or pneumonia.
The estimated incubation period ranges from three to six days, and the course of HMPV can differ depending upon severity. However, the illness’ duration is similar to other respiratory infections, such as the common cold and RSV.
While medical experts say there is no specific treatment, vaccine or antiviral therapy for HMPV, thorough handwashing, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, not sharing food or drink, refraining from kissing, and staying home when sick are all encouraged.