Virus found in 14 Kansas City-area newborns - KCTV5

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Virus found in 14 Kansas City-area newborns

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Kansas City health authorities in Missouri and Kansas are investigating infections among 14 infants with a virus that can cause meningitis and other inflammation. Kansas City health authorities in Missouri and Kansas are investigating infections among 14 infants with a virus that can cause meningitis and other inflammation.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV/AP) -

Kansas City health authorities in Missouri and Kansas are investigating infections among 14 infants with a virus that can cause meningitis and other inflammation.

Shawnee Mission Medical Center health officials told KCTV5 News that there is no link to just one hospital in the metro. Out of the 14 metro babies with human parechovirus, four were born at Shawnee Mission Medical Center and one baby, born at St. Joseph Medical Center, had recently had a check-up at Shawnee Mission Medical just before getting sick.

The germ causing the infections is a strain of human parechovirus called HPeV3.

The first cases of a strain of a human parechovirus were discovered in June.

Children's Mercy released a newsletter about the virus back in 2010. According to that newsletter, the infections happen in babies less than 90 days old.

Although Greyson Popp is doing much better, he was one such baby.

"He's smiling all the time. He coos all the time," said first-time mom Brianna Coburn.

But she said a week and a half after she gave birth to Greyson, it was a much different story.

"He was not eating was not right. He eats all the time so that was a big thing," she said.

Symptoms of HPeV3 include fever, irritability and rash. Coburn said little Greyson developed a high temperature and suffered a seizure. It wasn't until he landed in the hospital last month that doctors diagnosed him with meningitis that was caused by the parechovirus.

"This virus is common. We see it every year and it's probably never diagnosed," said Dr. John Fried, the infection disease chairman for Shawnee Mission Medical Center.

He said human parechovirus is a gastrointestinal disease that can progress into meningitis, although it doesn't always.

The newsletter from Children's Mercy also said it seems to be a summer-time disease with peak months in July through October.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment spokeswoman Aimee Rosenow says none of the infants has died from HPeV3, but all have been hospitalized. Shawnee Mission Medical Center and Children's Mercy Hospital have reported cases.

Rosenow says it's unclear if the infections are connected. Nine of the children are from Kansas and the rest are Missouri residents.

"All the babies went home and came back sick, so whether they acquired the virus at the hospital or at home, there's no way to know. Probably some of both," Fried said.

Rosenow says the department is working with the Missouri Health Department and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine if there have been other infections.

Health officials say avoiding the virus is as easy as practicing hand hygiene, just like one would during the cold and flu.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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