Human Parechovirus Infection in Neonatal Intensive Care

Jonathan Davis, Derek Fairley, Sharon Christie, Peter Coyle, Richard Tubman, Michael D. Shields

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Approximately 5-6% of all infective episodes in NICU are of viral origin. Previous studies suggest that human parechovirus (HPeV) infection presents most commonly in term infants, as a sepsis-like syndrome in which meningoencephalitis is prominent. Our aim was to study the infection rate and associated features of HPeV.

Methods: Blood samples were taken from NICU babies greater than 48 hours old, who were being investigated for late onset sepsis. Clinical and laboratory data were collected at the time of the suspected sepsis episode. Samples were tested using universal primers and probe directed at the 5'-untranslated region of the HPeV genome by reverse transcriptase PCR. Results were confirmed by electrophoresis and DNA sequencing.

Results: HPeV was detected in 11 of 84 samples (13%). These infants had a mean (interquartile range, IQR) gestational age of 28.9 (26.9 - 30.6) weeks and mean birth weight of 1.26 (SD = 0.72) kg. The median day of presentation was 16 (IQR: 11-27). These characteristics were similar to the infants without positive viral detection. Six infants presented with respiratory signs. One infant presented with signs of meningitis. Six of the 11 episodes of HPeV infection occurred during the winter months (December - February). No HPeV positive infants had abnormal findings on their 28-day cranial ultrasound examination.

Conclusions: We found a HPeV infection rate of 13% in infants being tested for late onset sepsis. HPeV should be considered as a possible cause of sepsis-like symptoms in preterm infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-124
Number of pages4
JournalThe Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


  • Human Parechovirus Neonatal

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Human Parechovirus Infection in Neonatal Intensive Care'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this