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Study highlights challenge of flu-like virus in children

WASHINGTON — A respiratory virus that was unknown to doctors until 2001 and that has no treatment causes the same severity of illness in young children as the flu, according to the largest study to estimate the infection’s US prevalence.

The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that one of every 1,000 children under age 5 is hospitalized each year because of human metapneumovirus, the same rate as that for flu. MPV also occurs during the winter and shares the same symptoms as the flu, the study said.

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