Understanding HMPV: The Rise of a Lesser-Known Virus

Understanding HMPV: The Rise of a Lesser-Known Virus


Cases of a relatively unknown virus called HMPV are rapidly increasing in New South Wales. While COVID-19 cases and flu cases have declined, HMPV cases have seen a surge. Health experts have conflicting opinions about the severity of the virus, with some reassuring the public that it is not dangerous and is similar to the common cold, while others suggest that it may have more severe effects compared to previous years. The symptoms of HMPV include cough, fever, nasal congestion, and shortness of breath, and the virus is most active in late winter and spring. Currently, there is no specific medication or vaccine available for HMPV.

HMPV, also known as Human Metapneumovirus, is a virus that belongs to the Pneumoviridae family. It was first identified in 2001 in the Netherlands and has since been recognized as a respiratory pathogen that can cause infections in people of all ages. It is similar to other respiratory viruses such as the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

According to Dr. Nick Coatsworth, HMPV is not dangerous and is one of the viruses that contribute to the common cold. He reassures the public that HMPV is something that people regularly encounter, often on an annual or biennial basis. However, Professor William Rawlinson from the University of NSW expresses concerns about the potential severity of HMPV infections. He suggests that after years of protocols such as masking and social distancing, the virus may be causing more severe illness in some individuals.

The symptoms of HMPV are similar to those of other respiratory infections and include cough, fever, nasal congestion, and shortness of breath. The virus is most active during late winter and spring, which aligns with the current rise in cases in New South Wales. As of now, there are no specific antiviral medications or vaccines available for HMPV, and treatment primarily focuses on managing symptoms and supporting the body’s immune response.

It is important to note that the information about HMPV is based on expert opinions and limited research. As the situation evolves, further studies may provide more insights into the virus and its potential risks. In the meantime, practicing good hygiene, such as frequent handwashing and avoiding close contact with sick individuals, can help reduce the risk of HMPV transmission.


– Sydney Morning Herald
– World Health Organization

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