Echoviruses, of which there are more than 30 known types, occur in all parts of the world. Their full name is Enteric Cytopathogenic Human Orphan (ECHO – hence the acronym). They are more common in children than in adults, and have been responsible for outbreaks of MENINGITIS, common-cold-like illnesses, gastrointestinal infections, and infections of the respiratory tract. They are particularly dangerous when they infect premature infants, and there have been several outbreaks of such infection in neonatal units, in which premature infants and other seriously ill small babies are nursed. The virus is introduced to such units by mothers, staﬀ and visitors who are unaware that they are carriers of the virus.
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