Introduction of a Human Parechovirus RNA test at NVRL

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From the 17th June 2013, the NVRL will include a specific molecular test for human parechovirus (HPeV) RNA in the routine testing algorithm for CSF samples in patients’ <3 years of age.
Human enteroviruses (HEV) and HPeV, both members of the Picornaviridae family, are common viruses associated with clinical manifestations ranging from mild respiratory symptoms to serious conditions, including aseptic meningitis, encephalitis, neonatal sepsis, and acute flaccid paralysis. Recent studies have shown that inclusion of a specific test for HPeV in routine investigations of CSF has significantly improved the rate of detection of viral pathogens in pediatric patients in this age group.

Routine investigations at the NVRL, for suspected encephalitis or meningitis, include molecular testing of CSF samples for herpes simplex virus 1 and 2, varicella zoster virus and enteroviruses. Human herpes virus 6 investigations are carried out on all patients’ <3 years of age and HPeV will be included in this group from 17th June. Investigations of CSF samples for other viral pathogens should be discussed with the laboratory if clinically indicated. Please note that the investigation of blood samples instead of CSF for viral encephalitis or meningitis is not advisable as it is unlikely to identify the aetiological agent.

If you have any queries about this new assay please contact me or a member of the NVRL clinical team on 01 716 1236/1240/1349/1359.