You May be Having the hMPV, Not COVID-19 or Flu. Here’s How to Know
, by Aussie Pharma Direct, 12 min reading time
, by Aussie Pharma Direct, 12 min reading time
As the seasons change, a new health concern is emerging in Australia: the Human Metapneumovirus (hMPV). The virus is seasonal in nature and typically thrives in the late winter and spring in Australia, around the same time as the flu season. During this time, cases of respiratory illnesses tend to surge, making it prime time for hMPV to spread. With its symptoms bearing a striking resemblance to both COVID-19 and the flu, the natural inclination for individuals experiencing these symptoms is to seek a COVID-19 or influenza tests.
This is where the conundrum arises. Rapid antigen tests (RATs) have become a popular tool for diagnosing COVID-19 or the flu (if one is using the 3-in-1 combination test), due to their convenience and quick results, however, hMPV does not appear on these tests since they’re not equipped to detect human metapneumovirus antigens.
As a result, individuals who repeatedly test negative on RATs while still experiencing symptoms may start to question what is truly afflicting them. The similarity in symptoms between hMPV, COVID-19, and the flu can lead to confusion and misdiagnosis. This not only impacts individuals' ability to seek appropriate care but also poses a risk in terms of public health.
hMPV, is actually not a recent discovery. In fact, this lesser-known respiratory virus was first identified in the Netherlands in 2001. This virus belongs to the Pneumoviridae family and is closely related to the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). hMPV is a common respiratory pathogen known to cause a wide range of respiratory tract infections, especially in young children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.
Like many respiratory viruses, hMPV is primarily spread through respiratory droplets. When an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes, they release tiny droplets containing the virus into the air. These droplets can be inhaled by people in close proximity to the infected individual. Touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching the face can also lead to transmission.
The symptoms of Human Metapneumovirus (hMPV) infection can vary widely, ranging from mild to severe, and they are similar to those caused by other respiratory viruses such as the common cold, flu, or COVID-19. Common symptoms of hMPV infection include:
Not everyone infected with hMPV will experience all of these symptoms, and the severity of symptoms can vary from person to person. In some cases, especially in healthy individuals, hMPV infection may cause only mild symptoms or even be asymptomatic (showing no symptoms at all).
Severe cases, however, may involve pneumonia or bronchitis, which can be life-threatening, particularly in infants and individuals with compromised immune systems.
Human Metapneumovirus (hMPV) is diagnosed through a combination of clinical evaluation and laboratory testing. Healthcare providers may suspect hMPV infection based on the patient's symptoms and medical history, especially during seasons when hMPV is known to be circulating.
Since the symptoms of hMPV can overlap with those of other respiratory infections, such as influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), healthcare providers may consider these other possibilities and may conduct additional tests to differentiate between these viruses.
In some cases, imaging studies like chest X-rays may be used to assess the extent of lung involvement, especially if there is concern about pneumonia or lower respiratory tract complications.
The contagious period for Human Metapneumovirus (hMPV) can vary from person to person and is influenced by several factors, including the individual's age, overall health, and the severity of their illness. In general, the incubation period of hMPV is 3 to 6 days.
After symptoms: hMPV shedding can continue for several days to weeks after the onset of symptoms, especially in children and individuals with weakened immune systems. The duration of viral shedding after symptoms vary widely among individuals. If your symptoms last for more than 2 weeks, you’ll need to seek medical help.
Recovery from hMPV infection commonly occurs on its own, and the duration of recovery can vary depending on various factors. Generally, most individuals infected with hMPV will recover within a relatively short timeframe. In most cases, hMPV infections clear up on their own, with individuals typically experiencing significant improvement within 7 to 10 days after the onset of symptoms. During this time, the body's immune system works to combat the virus, leading to a gradual resolution of symptoms.
In severe cases, especially in high-risk groups such as young children, individual with compromised immune system or those with existing respiratory condition, recovery may be longer.
Management of Human Metapneumovirus (hMPV) infection primarily focuses on coping with the symptoms, as there is currently no specific vaccine or antiviral treatment available for hMPV.
Here are ways to manage hMPV and promote recovery:
Preventing the spread of Human Metapneumovirus (hMPV) and other respiratory infections requires a combination of personal hygiene practices and effective disinfection measures. This includes:
In addition to hygiene practices, you could also consider disinfecting and sanitising your living areas at least once a week. You can consider using ViroCLEAR products, which utilise unique BioInnovate technology to effectively combat germs and bacteria with rapid kill time.
Unlike many sanitisers and disinfectants that contain high levels of alcohol, ViroCLEAR features an alcohol-free formulation, which is particularly important for individuals with sensitive skin, as it helps prevent dryness and irritation.
Here's how you can use the products in your day-to-day routine to reduce the risk of hMPV:
The ViroCLEAR Room Fogger offers a more comprehensive way to disinfect larger spaces. It can be used to treat entire rooms, including living areas, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
In conclusion, being vigilant about our health and hygiene is of utmost importance, especially in the face of threats like Human Metapneumovirus (hMPV) and other respiratory infections. While we may not have complete control over the presence of such viruses in our environment, we can take proactive steps to protect ourselves and those around us.