Human Metapneumovirus (hMPV) Symptoms and Diagnosis

What Are the Symptoms of hMPV?

Most patients with hMPV have mild upper respiratory symptoms similar to a cold. These may include:

  • Cough
  • Runny nose or nasal congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Fever

In more severe cases, patients may experience wheezing, difficulty breathing and asthma flare-ups. Secondary lower respiratory infections may occur such as bronchiolitis, bronchitis or pneumonia, requiring additional medical care.

When to See Your Doctor

Most people experiencing mild hMPV symptoms do not need to see a doctor, as the illness should go away on its own and supportive care of symptoms at home is enough. However, if symptoms worsen and you develop shortness of breath, severe cough or wheezing, you should see a doctor.  

How hMPV Is Diagnosed

To diagnose a respiratory infection, your doctor will complete a physical and patient history. To further diagnose hMPV as the source of the respiratory infection, your doctor may order lab tests to confirm the type of virus causing your illness.

In very few severe hospitalized cases, doctors may do a bronchoscopy where a small, flexible camera is inserted into the lung and a sample of fluid is removed to test for viruses.

Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel.

Page last updated: November 17, 2022

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