Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) is a respiratory virus that can cause pneumonia, bronchiolitis, and croup in children and adults. In 2023, there was a surge in hMPV cases worldwide, with the United States reporting the highest number of cases.
The surge in hMPV cases is likely due to a number of factors, including:
Increased international travel, which can spread the virus to new populations
The emergence of new strains of the virus that are more easily spread
A decline in the effectiveness of existing vaccines
There is no currently available vaccine that specifically protects against hMPV. However, there is a combination RSV/hMPV vaccine that is in development and has shown promising results in early clinical trials. This vaccine is expected to be available in the next few years.
In the meantime, there are a number of things that can be done to prevent the spread of hMPV, including:
Washing your hands frequently
Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
Covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
Getting vaccinated against RSV, if you are at high risk for complications from hMPV infection
If you think you or your child may have hMPV, it is important to see a doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent complications, such as pneumonia.
What to Expect from an HMPV Vaccine
If and when an HMPV vaccine becomes available, it is important to understand what to expect. The vaccine will likely be given as a two-dose series, with the second dose administered 6-12 months after the first dose. The vaccine is expected to be safe and effective, but there may be some side effects, such as mild fever, soreness, and redness at the injection site.
The HMPV vaccine is a promising new development that has the potential to significantly reduce the number of cases of hMPV infection. If you are at high risk for complications from hMPV infection, talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated when the vaccine becomes available.