Children's virus discovery
Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) appears to infect the majority of children by five years of age, with symptoms varying from a mild cough and runny nose to chest infections and severe pneumonia.
A report of the discovery was published in the Medical Journal of Australia by Dr Michael Nissen, full-time senior lecturer in the UQ Department of Paediatrics and Child Health and Director of Infectious Diseases at the Royal Children's Hospital, and Dr Theo Sloots, from UQ's Clinical Medical Virology Centre.
They are only the second group in the world to publish their findings on hMPV. The virus was first discovered in late 2001 in The Netherlands.
Dr Nissen said his research team made the discovery after performing DNA tests on 328 samples from children being treated for respiratory tract infections.
"This finding adds to our understanding of respiratory viruses causing bronchiolitis or wheezy chest infections of children," Dr Nissen said.