Boca viruses are members of the Parvoviridae family of viruses that are small (20nm) viruses with no single-stranded DNA.
The bocavirus is generally found in hospitalized infants and children with pneumonia or diarrheal symptoms.
The bocavirus is often detected in patients infected with other viruses.
Although some researchers suspect that the bocavirus causes infection and disease, there is no definitive evidence that the bocavirus causes infection or disease, either alone or with other viruses.
There are no diagnostic tests or medical treatments for the bocavirus; Researchers detect the bocavirus with a PCR test that is not widely available.
There is no vaccine available for the bocavirus.
Research in the coming years should better define what role, if any, the bocavirus plays in human infections and diseases.
What is bocavirus?
The boca virus (also called HBoV or human boca virus) is a small virus (20 nm in size) without an envelope with a single strand of DNA that comprises its genome.
The bocavirus genus is a member of the Parvoviridae family, and to date, three strains have been identified: HBoV, HBoV-2 and HBoV-3.
Boca virus is a new viral genus that was discovered in 2005 in the upper respiratory secretions of children with acute illness.
The name boca virus was derived by combining the names bovine parvovirus with canine minuvirus with which the bocavirus shares some genetic and structural characteristics.
The ICTVdB (International Committee on Virus Taxonomy) database has detailed its genome and structure.
Although this virus has been found worldwide in humans and animals, there is ongoing research and discussion on this virus as a pathogen that causes infection, either alone or in conjunction with other types of viruses.
This newly discovered virus genus is considered by many researchers to be an “emerging viral pathogen” because it has only been shown to be associated with infections
but has not yet been shown to be the cause of these infections, either alone or in conjunction with other viruses.
However, another member of the Parvoviridae family, a parvovirus called B19, causes infectious erythema (fifth disease or “slapped cheek” syndrome)
hydrops fetalis (severe anemia in pregnant women), and aplastic crisis (cessation of red blood cell production ) in individuals who have sickle cell disease.
Bocavirus has not been associated with these conditions caused by parvovirus B19.
symptoms and signs of bocavirus infection?
Because the boca virus is generally only found in individuals (usually infants, children, and infrequently in young adults) with lower respiratory infections or diarrhea
these are the following symptoms and signs associated with the presence of boca virus:
ARF (also called ITR, acute respiratory tract infections), especially in infants and children
Cyanosis (bluish or grayish tint to the skin due to lack of oxygen)
Rhinorrhea (runny nose)
Babies and children with these nonspecific symptoms are often very ill and require hospitalization.
It is important to note that it is not yet clear that the bocavirus is totally or partially responsible for these signs and symptoms.
Currently, most of the clinical articles analyzing the bocavirus describe patients with at least several of the symptoms and signs listed above, with pneumonia as the main problem.
Some researchers report months of Bocavirus detachment (tests show the presence of the virus in body secretions) in cancer patients (leukemia),
but the importance of this detachment is unclear.
does bocavirus infection spread?
Because the bocavirus is a recently detected virus, many basic studies are still being planned or are ongoing.
Consequently, the conclusions about how the virus spreads are based on assumptions supported by some scientific findings, but which have not yet been proven by scientific tests.
Since the virus can be detected in large quantities in the respiratory tract and respiratory secretions of some hospitalized patients,
the researchers suggest that the bocavirus is primarily transmitted to other humans by respiratory secretions.
However, it can also be found in faeces (diarrhea) and blood, so these may be alternative ways of spreading the virus.
Unfortunately, to date, there are no animal or viral cell culture systems to investigate bocavirus strains.
However, it is clear that, from the few epidemiological studies conducted, bocavirus can be found worldwide in approximately 1.5% -19% of the population, generally in sick children.
treatment for a bocavirus infection?
There is no known medical or antiviral treatment that effectively targets bocavirus strains.
Some researchers suggest that since there is no definitive evidence that the bocavirus causes infection or disease, either alone or in combination with other viruses, there should be no targeted treatment for the bocavirus.
Other researchers believe that since bocavirus strains are generally associated with patients with respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms, treatments should be considered.
Currently, the only treatments available (eg, oxygen, respiratory support, and hydration) are for symptom relief, as there are no specific treatments for bocavirus available.
prognosis of bocavirus infection?
The prognosis of patients with detected bocavirus is not clear because it is not known whether the bocavirus is responsible, alone or in part, for any disease or infection.
However, when bocavirus strains are detected, they are often associated (approximately 45% to 93% of patients tested by experienced investigators) with other viruses known to cause infections.
Viruses that are identified in association with the bocavirus are of several different types:
RSV (respiratory syncytial virus)
Herpes simplex virus
As research on the bocavirus progresses, other associated types of viruses are likely to be found.
The prognosis for patients with these viruses is usually good, especially if patients are seen and treated by a doctor early in the infection.
However, for some patients who develop severe symptoms with these viral infections, the prognosis can range from fair to poor.
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