Disease

Parechovirus Infects 50 Babies in Queensland, Australia

An outbreak of a rare and potentially fatal virus has left 55 newborns sick, with most of the infected babies under three months old.

The respiratory and gastrointestinal infection parechovirus has swept through parts of Queensland, including Brisbane and the Gold Coast, leaving newborns with lethargy, diarrhoea, a temperature and a refusal to eat.

Last month, two infants from Toowoomba were almost killed by the virus and were left fighting for life in intensive care, with one even having her chest cut open and given painful spinal taps.

The virus initially broke out in Brisbane in September, but there have been reported cases on the Gold Coast, and in Toowoomba, Townsville, Mackay and Bundaberg

There is currently no specific treatment for the potentially fatal disease but doctors are trying to work on a vaccine.

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