EV-D68: Another Type of Virus

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When it comes to protecting our kids, mosquito-borne viruses aren’t our only concern. There is a rare respiratory virus going around.  It’s serious enough that it’s sending kids to the hospital. Fortunately, it’s rarely life-threatening. Being parents ourselves, we feel compelled to do our part to spread the word. The first place we went to research was the Centers for Disease Control. Here’s what we found:

What is enterovirus D68?EV-D68 Prevention

Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is one of many non-polio enteroviruses. This virus was first identified in California in 1962, but it has not been commonly reported in the United States.

What are the symptoms of EV-D68 infection?

EV-D68 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness. Mild symptoms may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches. Most of the children who got very ill with EV-D68 infection in Missouri and Illinois had difficulty breathing, and some had wheezing. Many of these children had asthma or a history of wheezing.

How does the virus spread?

Since EV-D68 causes respiratory illness, the virus can be found in an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum. EV-D68 likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches contaminated surfaces.

Who is at risk?

In general, infants, children, and teenagers are most likely to get infected with enteroviruses and become ill. That’s because they do not yet have immunity (protection) from previous exposures to these viruses. We believe this is also true for EV-D68. There is some indication that children with asthma seemed to have a higher risk for severe respiratory illness.

What are the treatments?

There is no specific treatment for people with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. For mild respiratory illness, you can help relieve symptoms by taking over-the-counter medications for pain and fever. Aspirin should not be given to children. Some people with severe respiratory illness may need to be hospitalized. There are no antiviral medications currently available for people who become infected with EV-D68.

How can I protect myself?

You can help protect yourself from respiratory illnesses by following these steps:

*Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers.
*Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
*Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
*Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

Other Resources:

What Parents Should Know About EV-D68 – CNN
States with Lab-confirmed Enterovirus D68 – CDC
Pediatrician Dr. Eric Freeman answers questions about Enterovirus EV-D68 (Video)- CBS
Reports of a Severe Respiratory Illness on the Rise (Audio) – American Academy of Pediatrics


Posted by in Education, How We're Different, The Threat is Real