Navigate Up

Pediatric Center - A-Z Index

#
Q
Z

Print This Page

ECHO virus

Enteric cytopathic human orphan (ECHO) viruses are a group of viruses that lead to gastrointestinal infection and skin rashes.

Alternative Names

Nonpolio enterovirus infection; Echovirus infection

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Echovirus is one of several families of viruses that affect the gastrointestinal tract collectively called enteroviruses. These infections are common. In the US, they are most common in the summer and fall. You can catch the virus if you come into contact with stools contaminated by the virus, and possibly by breathing in air particles from an infected person.

Serious infections with ECHO viruses are less common, but can be significant. As many as 1 in 5 cases of viral meningitis is caused by an ECHO virus.

Symptoms

You may not have any symptoms. Symptoms depend on the site of infection but may include:

Signs and tests

Because the illness is often mild and has no specific treatment, specific testing for echovirus is often not done.

ECHO virus can be identified from:

Treatment

ECHO virus infections almost always clear up on their own. No specific medicines are available to fight the virus. Immune system treatment called IVIG may help patients with severe ECHO virus infections who have a weakened immune system.

Expectations (prognosis)

Complete recovery without treatment is expected in patients who have the less severe types of illness. Infections of organs such as the heart (pericarditis and myocarditis) may cause severe disease and can be deadly.

Complications

Complications vary with the site and type of infection. Myocarditis and pericarditis may be deadly while most other types of infection improve on their own.

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of any of the diseases listed above.

Prevention

No specific preventive measures are available for ECHO virus infections other than hand-washing, especially when you are in contact with sick people. Currently, no vaccines are available.

References

Modlin JF. Introduction to the enteroviruses and parechoviruses.In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 170.

Romero JR. Enteroviruses. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 387.

Updated: 10/6/2012

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com