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Des Moines doctors and parents warn of PeV symptoms in infants

Parechovirus, also known as PeV, was found in 23 infants in Tennessee earlier this year. Ages ranged from five days to three months old.

DES MOINES, Iowa — A virus primarily found in infants is spreading across the country, according to the CDC

Human parechovirus, also known as PeV, was found in 23 infants in Tennessee earlier this year. Ages ranged from five days to three months old.

The Cleveland Clinic categorizes PeV as potentially dangerous in infants younger than three months old. If left untreated for too long, infants with PeV may develop sepsis-like illness, seizures or meningitis or meningoencephalitis.  

The virus is spread through poor hygiene or close contact. Symptoms include fever, fussiness and poor feeding.

"It is not usually seen in the newborn nursery stay, but is seen when babies get readmitted in the first month for fevers or other signs that are concerning for infection," said Dr. Amy Ferguson of Blank Children's Hospital.

Meredith Beaderstadt's son, Breslin, had PeV at five weeks old. 

As a pediatric nurse, she knew something was wrong when Breslin was fussy, feverish and lethargic. 

"He had to get taken back to get a lumbar puncture and then we had been admitted to inpatient for 24 hours at that point.," Beaderstadt said.

When Breslin tested positive for PeV, he stayed in the hospital for three nights. 

"It was scary having our baby hooked up to all those monitors and his heart rate high and all that…it was all overwhelming," Beaderstadt said.

Dr. Joseph McGargill with MercyOne Medical Group said this type of virus has been around for a while, but it is difficult to measure from year to year.

"Typically we don't test for [Parechovirus], but we are starting to see a trend of those viruses and that is thought to be because we're testing more and more now," McGargill said. "We weren't testing for it in the past."

McGargill also noted there is no specific treatment for Parechovirus since it varies by child.

Beaderstadt encourages parents who notice something is off with their child to immediately take them to the doctor. 

"Listen to your parental instincts," she said. "It's better safe than sorry." 

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