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An ECHO (Enteric Cytopathic Human Orphan) Virus

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. Echo virus is a RNA virus that belongs to the species enterovirus B, genus enterovirus of the Picornaviridae (non-enveloped, positive-stranded RNA viruses) family.[Echoviruses are found in the gastrointestinal tract (hence it being part of the enterovirus genus) and exposure to the virus causes other opportunistic infections and diseases.

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Echo virus is highly infectious, and its primary target is children. The echo virus is among the leading causes of acute febrile illness in infants and young children, and is the most common cause of aseptic meningitis. Infection of an infant with this virus following birth may cause severe systemic diseases, and is associated with high infant mortality rates. The echo virus can mimic symptoms caused by other common bacterial and viral infections. Echo virus can be found anywhere in the world mostly in contaminated water, and it lives in humans.

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  • Croup
  • Encephalitis (irritation and swelling (inflammation) of the brain)
  • Meningitis (bacterial infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord)
  • Mouth sores
  • Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle.)
  • Pericarditis (condition in which the sac-like covering around the heart becomes inflamed.)
  • Pneumonia
  • Skin rashes
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Sore throat
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First Found

Echo viruses were first isolated from the feces of asymptomatic children in the context of epidemiological studies of polio viruses. The viruses produced cytopathic effects in cell cultures but failed to cause detectable pathologic lesions in suckling mice.Most echo viruses are no longer considered orphans.