UPDATE: Parents warned to look out for parechovirus symptoms

A Maryborough mother is warning others after her baby was diagnosed with the life-threatening parechovirus in Hervey Bay Hospital.
A Maryborough mother is warning others after her baby was diagnosed with the life-threatening parechovirus in Hervey Bay Hospital. Thinkstock

UPDATE 2.30PM: DOCTORS say parechovirus is "relatively rare, but not uncommon", and say all babies who have received treatment for the virus on the Fraser Coast have made full recoveries.

A Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service spokesman said Fraser Coast health centres and hospitals had strong infection control measures in place to prevent the spread of any disease.

"Since 2013, following advice from New South Wales Health due to several parechovirus cases in that state, WBHHS medical staff have been vigilant in testing children in the high-risk groups for the virus," the spokesman said.

"In the vast majority of cases, the babies have been ill due to other causes and not parechovirus.

"Parechovirus is relatively rare, but not uncommon, and in the isolated cases where the WBHHS has confirmed the infection, the babies have received treatment and fully recovered. "

UPDATE 11AM: PARENTS are warned to seek medical advice from a doctor if their children show signs of the life-threatening parechovirus, after two babies tested positive to the disease on the Fraser Coast.

The Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service is warning parents babies with parechovirus can develop symptoms including:

  • fever
  • irritability/appearing in pain
  • rash
  • diarrhoea or loose stools
  • muscle spasms
  • drowsiness, difficult to rouse, poor feeding
  • rapid breathing.

More than 50 babies have been hospitalised across the state so far this year, including two infants from the Fraser Coast in January.

One baby was air lifted from Hervey Bay Hospital to Brisbane for support after becoming seriously sick.

There is no specialised treatment or cure for the virus.

Clinical Director of Paediatrics at Hervey Bay Hospital Dr Peter Stevenson said the spread of the virus could be prevented by basic hygiene practises.

"Parents and care givers should cover their nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing," Dr Stephenson said.

"Wash hands with soap and water after going to the toilet, before eating, after wiping noses and after changing nappies or soiled clothing."

EARLIER: A MARYBOROUGH mother is warning others after her baby was diagnosed with the life-threatening parechovirus in Hervey Bay Hospital.

Two cases of the virus have been confirmed on the Fraser Coast, including a four-week-old girl from Maryborough who was taken to hospital on January 5.

The virus can cause babies to become severely ill and has affected more than 50 infants across Queensland this year alone.

"She was really unsettled; whimpering and crying for hours non-stop," the mother told the Chronicle.

"I took her to a walk-in doctor's clinic in Maryborough but they said she was probably just gassy, so I took her home."

Within hours the girl had developed a rash, and her temperature had reached 38.5 degrees, so her parents rushed her to Hervey Bay Hospital where she spent the next five days in the paediatrics ward.

Results from a stool sample and lumbar puncture tested positive for parechovirus.

"I was freaking out," the mum said.

"I heard of other babies nearly dying of it and was afraid (my baby) would be the same."

Clinical Director of Paediatrics at Hervey Bay Hospital Dr Peter Stevenson said the baby girl had fully recovered.

"The baby girl was prescribed antibiotics and antiviral medicine, and was also given supportive treatments such as fluids and feeds," Dr Stevenson said.

Despite denying any cases of the virus presenting on the Fraser Coast when asked by the Chronicle on February 17, the hospital has confirmed in late January, another "very unwell" child was flown from Hervey Bay Hospital to Lady Cilento Children's Hospital where they tested positive for parechovirus.

"Parechovirus is not a publicly notifiable disease, so it is difficult to track it through our Public Health Unit records," Dr Stephenson said.

"Instead the WBHHS has to undertake a search of it's patient records to confirm any cases of the virus, and unfortunately this case was not picked up in those searches of Hervey Bay Hospital records," Dr Stevenson said.

Parechovirus in region

 Two cases were confirmed in Bundaberg in 2013 and a third late last year.

 Two babies on the Fraser Coast have also tested positive.

Topics:  baby editors picks maryborough hospital parechovirus

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