Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) produces symptoms similar to the common cold. Most people have mild cases, but some may have complications such as bronchiolitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Metapneumovirus is a virus that often spreads during the winter and spring.
Human metapneumovirus is a lipid-enveloped single-stranded, negative-sense non-segmented RNA virus classified in the Pneumoviridae family and the Metapneumovirus genus.
Symptoms commonly associated with metapneumovirus include cough, fever, nasal congestion, and shortness of breath. Clinical symptoms of metapneumovirus infection may progress to bronchitis or pneumonia and are similar to other viruses that cause upper and lower respiratory infections. The estimated incubation period is 3 to 6 days, and the duration of illness can vary depending upon severity.
Anyone can get metapneumovirus, but people most at risk of complications include:
- Children under 5
- People who are immunocompromised, such as those who take cancer medications or have had organ transplants
- People over 65
- People with asthma who use steroids
- People with COPD
About 10% to 15% of respiratory illnesses in children are related to metapneumovirus. Most cases are mild, but about 5% to 15% of children will develop a lower respiratory tract infection, such as pneumonia.
Human metapneumovirus is most likely spread from an infected person to others through secretions from coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands, touching objects or surfaces that have the viruses on them then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes.