Human Parainfluenza Viruses (HPIVs)

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Human parainfluenza viruses (HPIVs) commonly cause respiratory illnesses in infants and young children. But anyone can get HPIV illness. Symptoms may include fever, runny nose, and cough. Patients usually recover on their own. However, HPIVs can also cause more severe illness, such as croup or pneumonia.

HPIVs Are Not the Same as Influenza (Flu) Viruses

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  • There are many different types of viruses that cause respiratory infections. Two of those viruses are HPIVs and influenza (flu).
  • People get HPIV infections more often in the spring, summer, and fall. Flu is more common in the winter.
  • Flu vaccine will not protect you against HPIV infections.

Look at trends for HPIV infections in the United States.

How HPIVs Spread

HPIVs spread from an infected person to other people through—

  • the air by coughing and sneezing,
  • close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands, and
  • touching objects or surfaces with the viruses on them then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

Page last reviewed: October 6, 2017