Emergence of parechovirus A4 central nervous system infections among infants in Kansas City, Missouri, USA

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DOI: 10.1128/JCM.01698-18; PMCID: PMC6498030


Among known parechovirus (PeV) types infecting humans, PeV-A3 (formerly HPeV3) and PeV-A1 (formerly HPeV1) are associated with pediatric central nervous system (CNS) infections. The prevalence of PeV-A3 among hospitalized infants with sepsis-like illness and viral CNS infection is well described; however, the contribution of PeV-A4 to infant CNS infection is relatively unexplored. We report the first 11 U.S. cases of PeV-A4 CNS infections occurring in Kansas City infants during 2010 to 2016 and compare the clinical presentation with that of PeV-A3. PeV-positive cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimens from 2010 to 2016 underwent sequencing for genotyping. Among all PeV-CSF positives, PeV-A4 was detected in 11 CSF samples from 2010 to 2016. PeV-A4 was first detected in 2010 (n 1/4), followed by detections in 2014 (n 1/39), 2015 (n 6/9), and 2016 (n 3/33). The median age of PeV-A4-infected infants in weeks (median, 4; range, 1 to 8) was similar to that of infants infected with PeV-A3 (median, 4; range, 0.25 to 8). Clinical characteristics of PeV-A4 (n 11) were compared with those of select PeV-A3-infected children (n 34) with CNS infections and found to be mostly similar, although maximum temperature was higher (P 0.017) and fever duration was shorter (P 0.03) for PeV-A4 than for PeV-A3. Laboratory test results were also similar between genotypes, although they showed significantly lower peripheral white blood cell (P 0.014) and absolute lymphocyte (P 0.04) counts for PeV-A4 infants. Like PeV-A3, PeV-A4 caused summer-fall seasonal clusters of CNS infections in infants, with mostly similar presentations. Further surveillance is necessary to confirm potential differences in laboratory findings and in fever intensity/duration.

Journal Title

Journal of Clinical Microbiology






Central nervous system infections, Children, Parechovirus

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