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Diagnosing and Treating hMPV

Testing for hMPV is not widely available, but the most common method is by testing secretions from the nose or throat.

What to Expect

Most people will be diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection or "cold" based on a collection of symptoms along with a particular time of year. During the winter months it is usually enough to make a diagnosis with the presence of a fever, runny nose, cough and sore throat. In most cases, the doctor will not do any test and treat the symptoms of your cold.

How hMPV Is Diagnosed

In some cases, your doctor may test you for influenza. This test involves swabbing the nasal (nose) passage by inserting a long swab into the back of your nose to collect a sample. In very few severe hospitalized cases, you may undergo a bronchoscopy where a small, flexible camera is inserted into your lung and a sample of fluid is removed. This is only reserved for more severe cases, and the goal of this testing is to detect influenza as treatment can be stopped (or started) based on the results.

If your doctor tests you for influenza, the swab is then tested for approximately 9 different viruses, which cause respiratory infections. This test is done in a laboratory and usually takes 1 to 2 days for the results.

How hMPV Is Treated

Treatment is geared toward easing symptoms, as there is no direct treatment for hMPV.

Mainly, the use of over-the-counter medication to control pain and fever (such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen), along with decongestants (pseudoephedrine) are used. If you have wheezing or cough, the use of an as-needed inhaler is recommended (eg, albuterol). Patients with more severe wheezing may escalate their therapy for asthma as recommended by their doctor, which may include higher doses of an inhaled corticosteroid or initiation of oral prednisone.

    This content was developed in partnership with the CHEST Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American College of Chest Physicians.

    Page Last Updated: July 11, 2019

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