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Dr Phil Britton on parechovirus

Parechovirus is an emerging infection in Australia. PAEDS investigator Dr Phil Britton wants to spread word about this infection so that it can detected early on. Speaking to general practitioners, Dr Britton said these viruses tend to produce more severe disease in young children. Parechovirus type 3 particularly causes severe febrile illness and encephalitis in infants. A study that tested cases from an Australia-wide database of the 2017–2018 outbreak found that a specific strain of parechovirus type 3 has caused at least three outbreaks in Australia in the 2013–2014, 2015–2016 and 2017–2018 seasons.

The APPRISE Centre of Research Excellence, which is an NHMRC-funded [National Health and Medical Research Council] national collaboration of researchers, is developing a database to collect information on infected children at a national level. Dr Britton said the project networked specialist virology laboratories at GCEID and the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory and major children’s hospitals around Australia – The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick, Queensland Children’s Hospital, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne and Perth Children’s Hospital. "We hope our work will also lead to greater international collaborations to really understand the global genotypes of this virus and any correlations with the severity of the disease.”