Bocavirus Infection HBoV Human Bocavirus Causes Symptoms Treatment Transmission

Bocavirus Infection (HBoV, Human Bocavirus)

Bocavirus (HBoV or human bocavirus) is a small (20 nm) non-enveloped virus with a single strand of DNA as its genome. The bocavirus genus belongs to the Parvoviridae family and has three strains identified: HBoV-1, HBoV-2, and HBoV-3. Bocavirus was discovered in 2005 in upper respiratory secretions from acutely ill children. The name “bocavirus” was derived from combining “bovine parvovirus” with “canine minutevirus” due to shared genetic and structural characteristics. The ICTVdB has documented its genome and structure.

Most bocavirus infections are respiratory and associated with HBoV-1. The symptomatic disease primarily affects children aged 6 to 24 months. Bocavirus can infect adults, but they usually don’t exhibit symptoms. The exact cause of bocavirus infection is not fully understood, but it is believed to be spread through respiratory secretions, such as coughing or sneezing.

Although bocavirus has been found in humans and animals worldwide, ongoing research and discussion revolve around it as a potential pathogen. Many view bocavirus as an “emerging viral pathogen” since its role in infections, either alone or with other viruses, has not been definitively proven. However, another parvovirus from the same family, B19, causes various conditions in individuals with sickle cell disease. Bocavirus has not been linked to these specific conditions associated with parvovirus B19.

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How does bocavirus infection spread?

As bocavirus is a newly detected virus, studies on its spread are ongoing. It is believed to be primarily transmitted through respiratory secretions. However, it can also be found in stools and blood, suggesting alternative modes of transmission. Epidemiological studies indicate that bocavirus is present in approximately 1.5%-19% of the population, mainly in sick children.

What are the symptoms of bocavirus infection?

Bocavirus is typically found in individuals with lower respiratory infections or diarrhea. Common symptoms associated with bocavirus include acute respiratory tract infections, cough, wheezing, fever, cyanosis, runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting, and rarely, difficulty breathing in infants and young children.

Diagnosis of bocavirus infection

Bocavirus “infection” is diagnosed by association as there are no commercially available tests for any bocavirus strains. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are used to detect viral genetic material in nasopharyngeal aspirates, blood, and diarrhea. However, these tests are not widely available. Most clinical articles discuss patients with symptoms associated with bocavirus but do not definitively diagnose bocavirus infection. Nevertheless, many investigators suspect bocavirus plays a role in the disease process.

What is the treatment for bocavirus infection?

There is no specific treatment for bocavirus strains, as their role in causing infection or disease has not been definitively established. Current treatments focus on relieving symptoms, such as oxygen therapy, respiratory support, hydration, rest, drinking fluids, over-the-counter medications for pain and fever relief, and humidifiers or steamy showers to alleviate nasal congestion and cough.

What is the prognosis of bocavirus infection?

The prognosis of patients with detected bocavirus strains is unclear. These strains are often found in association with other known viruses that cause infections. The prognosis for patients with associated viruses is generally good, especially with early medical intervention. However, severe symptoms may result in a fair to poor prognosis.

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Is it possible to prevent a bocavirus infection?

Prevention methods for bocavirus infection are yet to be developed since its role in causing infection has not been definitively proven. There is currently no vaccine in development for human use.

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