The World Health Organization (WHO)) has announced that six European countries, including Spain, have reported the detection of cases of echovirus-11 (E-11) infection in newborns. Although the available information is limited, the risk to public health has been assessed by WHO as low. Echovirus-11 is a type of virus belonging to the enterovirus family that can cause from mild respiratory infections even more serious diseases such as meningitis and sepsis. The symptoms associated with echovirus-11 infection vary depending on the age and health of the person affected, and may include fever, sore throat, rash, malaise, muscle and joint pain, as well as respiratory symptoms such as cough and nasal congestion. In more severe cases, meningitis may develop, characterized by a stiff neck, severe headache, and high fever. It is important to note that most people infected with echovirus-11 experience mild symptoms or may even be asymptomatic. However, in vulnerable groups such as newly born and people with weakened immune systemscomplications can be more serious and require urgent medical attention.
Spain, among the countries infected by echovirus
The first outbreaks were registered in France before May 31 and since then more infections have been reported in Spain, Croatia, Italy, United Kingdom and Sweden. WHO has pledged to closely monitor the situation and provide guidance and support to affected countries, highlighting the importance of international collaboration to combat such outbreaks. Given this situation, it is recommended that physicians who care for newborns and young infants with circulatory shock consider the possibility of sepsis as an underlying diagnosis and perform appropriate diagnostic tests, including enterovirus testing. There is no specific antiviral therapy for echovirus infection and treatment focuses on preventing complications. Therefore, it is recommended that health centers serving obstetric and neonatal populations be familiar with the signs and symptoms of echovirus infection and maintain constant vigilance for possible cases and associated outbreaks. It is essential to take preventative measures, increase awareness of symptoms and maintain a active surveillance to effectively control and manage this public health situation.