Echo viruses (31 serotypes), as well as Coxsackie A viruses (23 serotypes) and Coxsackie B viruses (6 serotypes), belong to the genus Enterovirus of the family Picornaviridae. The Picornaviridae family also includes the 3 serotypes of Polioviruses (polio). These groups of viruses have similar chemical, physical, biological and epidemiological characteristics, they have a worldwide spread, they are transmitted mainly by the faecal-oral route, but they are also capable of being transmitted through airborne droplets. Transmission from person to person is done through either the digestive system or the respiratory system. Viruses reach the reticuloendothelial system and other target organs such as the myocardium, the meninges or the skin, through the bloodstream.
Echo infections, like other enteroviruses, cause mild nonspecific symptoms of malaise, with low fever and sometimes skin rashes. Rarely, they can cause more serious illnesses such as liver failure, myocarditis, pericarditis and meningitis.
An acute Echo virus infection can be confirmed by the detection of specific IgM antibodies or the rising titer of IgG antibodies. The highest incidence of IgM positive titers is found in children between one and ten years old. IgM antibodies are usually detected for a period of six to eight weeks. In rare cases, high IgM antibody titers can last up to six months after aseptic meningitis or three to six months after pericarditis. Patients with recurrent pericarditis may have detectable IgM antibodies for more than five years.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.