Parechovirus outbreak in QLD

Professor Theo Sloots says 46 babies are infected with parechovirus, which has spread to Queensland. At least 11 other cases have been confirmed in the state since December.

"The outbreak is Australia-wide now and we believe there are at least four types of the virus," the Queensland Paediatric Infectious Diseases (QPID) laboratory director told reporters in Brisbane.

"We don't know what type is in Queensland compared to other states."

Parechovirus is a respiratory and intestinal disease that causes fever, irritability, rash and diarrhoea, but severe cases can develop into hepatitis or encephalitis.

QPID Associate Professor Michael Nissen said the virus infected mainly infants, but no one was sure where it came from, how often it occurred or how to fight it.

"This virus does not respond to common antibiotics," he said.

But Professor Nissen said humans must have been able to fight it because it has been around for a