While COVID-19 and RSV cases have been declining in recent months, another, lesser-known respiratory virus surged this past spring.

A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on May 31 showed that positive PCR lab tests for human metapneumovirus (HMPV) in early March hit nearly 11 percent.

During the four years prior to the pandemic, positive results for HMPV testing peaked between 6.2 and 7.7 percent in March and April, according to the CDC. As the pandemic took off in the spring of 2020, HMPV decreased and remained low through May 2021.

“Human metapneumovirus has been around for awhile, but these numbers are higher than they've been in the last few years, so the virus is drawing attention,” says Panagis Galiatsatos, MD, a pulmonary and critical care physician with Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore and a medical spokesperson for the American Lung Association.

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