Pregnant woman reveals crushing toll of hMPV virus

A pregnant woman has issued a word of warning after experiencing a lengthy and horrendous illness that started with a headache.

Hannah Allen, who is 31 weeks pregnant, was recently infected with the respiratory illness hMPV (human metapneumovirus) and has issued a warning to “not get it” after suffering with it for more than 12 days.

“Yeah this hMPV, don’t get it if you can. I have not been this ill in so, so f***ing long and I’ve had Covid multiple times and influenza, and hMPV is f***ing awful,” Ms Allen said in a TikTok.

“I still sound like a man and I’m on day 12 or 13 maybe. I have been coughing so hard almost every single day to the point where I’m literally throwing up my food that I’ve just eaten.

“No matter what it is – toast, soup, meat or veggies. I was coughing so hard that I’m literally throwing up my food. So yeah, don’t get it.”

Australian health researcher Dr Vincent Candrawinata echoed the soon-to-be mum’s call for the public to be extra protective with themselves given how severe contracting hMPV could be.

One of the major challenges with hMPV, he said, was that it was almost impossible to differentiate it from the common cold in its early phases.

Dr Vincent said its biggest defining factor was that it lingered for an extended period, placing people with allergies or asthma at heightened risk.

“In severe cases, people with allergy or asthma conditions, it could develop into secondary lower respiratory infections like bronchitis or pneumonia,” he told

“Whenever there is adifficulty in breathing, it can very, very quickly turn serious.”

Young children, older adults and people with compromised immune systems were among the cohorts who were most likely to be severely affected by a case of the hMPV virus.

There’s no protection or cure for the virus, so anyone infected has no option but to just ride it out.

Sore throat, congestion, runny nose and coughing were among the symptoms of hMPV that lingered far longer than a cold, which would typically start to clear after three days.

“The medical community is paying a bit more attention to this because in a few cases in can flare up existing conditions,” Dr Vincent said.

“Unfortunately for us, because it’s also spring, it coincides with pollen allergies as well and the two combined can actually cause a more serious issue.

“It has a higher risk of developing into something serious for people who are at risk.”

The best approach to a suspected hMPV infection was to isolate from others straight away, rest and take paracetamol for the pain.

Cases of hMPV began to soar in mid September, which Dr Vincent said could be attributed to warm conditions starting earlier than usual and people choosing to go into the community over staying home.

He insisted that people who experienced symptoms beyond three days needed to get swabbed at their GP.

If Ms Allen’s video was anything to go by, the virus has been wreaking havoc on the community, with several people reporting coughing so bad it caused their ribs to crack.

“Yep five weeks and I am just feeling OK – broke a rib coughing,” one person wrote in a comment.

“I swear I had this for five weeks. Lost my voice completely hasn’t returned to normal. Thought I was going to die,” another said.

“I got it early September and I’ve just stopped coughing now. I ended up cracking two ribs,” someone else said.

Another viewer said it was the “worst two weeks of my life”.

Originally published as Chilling stories reveal hMPV virus sweeping the country

Cristeen Gonzama

Cristeen Gonzales writes about health and medicine. She tends toward stories that reveal the on-the-ground impact of health policy, with a particular focus on the opioid epidemic, Covid-19 and abortion.

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