Having just been through a winter that had respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza in abundance, one often thinks there is nothing else that can make an infant experience severe respiratory distress and congestion during the winter—but have you thought about human metapneumovirus (HMPV)? Haynes et al. (peds.2015-2927) certainly have, and realized that the national seasonality of this respiratory virus has never been described—at least until this week when they published results from 7 years of gathering viral epidemiology data through the National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System.
The investigators not only looked at the seasonality of HPMV but also RSV and influenza by examining several hundred thousand nasal specimens. The results indicate that HMPV tends to follow RSV and influenza onsets but all three viruses can circulate concurrently such that if RSV and influenza assays are negative—HMPV should also be on the differential as a possible culprit even if you opt not to test for it.
The authors do a great job trying to show similarities and differences of HMPV relative to the other respiratory viral illnesses so you will better grasp diagnostically what HMPV is and is s-not. Get in the nose, or we mean the know and read this article to learn about HMPV and its circulation patterns in the United States.