CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Doctor Bill Petri with UVA Health says it’s normal to see an outbreak of HMPV (human metapneumovirus) every year. However, people’s immunity was lower this year because of COVID-19.

“It’s spread by breathing in, and so if you wear a mask, you’re protected against human metapneumovirus,” Dr. Petri said Tuesday, May 30. “Unfortunately, that might make you more susceptible once you take your mask off.”

Dr. Petri says most children are infected with HMPV before the age of 5, and there’s currently no vaccine to treat it.

“It’s going to be a tougher road ahead than for COVID or for RSV, because there’s several different genetically-related viruses that all fall into the human melanoma virus category,” the doctor said.

Symptoms are similar to what we all came to know from the coronavirus: Coughing, chills, and sore throats.

There isn’t a home test for it, so it is only normally tested for in hospitals.

“It’s really only if you’re coming to the hospital with pneumonia or asthma or COPD then we test everyone for it, because you might have something else besides human metapneumovirus that we can treat,” Dr. Petri said.

The best way to stop the spread is to wear a mask.

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