Enterovirus is a non-polio virus that was first discovered in California in 1962. (http://1.usa.gov/1rVzPYU) It typically exists during the Summer and Fall, with frequency of the virus decreasing in late Fall.
Where is Enterovirus D68 in the United States in 2014?
This year, Enterovirus D68 is documented with severe respiratory illness in the United States. Currently, the Centers for Disease control (CDC) or state labs have confirmed 628 people infected with this virus in 44 states and the District of Columbia. Yesterday, the Florida Department of Health confirmed Florida's first Enterovirus D68 infection in a 10 year old girl from Polk county who was treated in Hillsborough County at Tampa General Hospital one (1) month ago for six (6) days. The reality is that Enterovirus D68 is everywhere.
Enterovirus D68 Updates:
Update 10/8/14: Enterovirus D68 appears to be winding down. Fewer severe respiratory illnesses reported last week. Peak was three (3) weeks ago. (http://usat./1vUOJPz)
Update 10/16/14: CDC new rRT-PCR test for Enterovirus D68 allows more rapid test for the more than 1,000 remaining specimens from since mid-Sept. (http://bit.ly/ZC9JzW). This will result in an increased number of positive results. However, this will be for past infections, not recent ones. Enterovirus D68 still appears to be winding down.
What Are the Symptoms of Enterovirus D68?
Enterovirus is typically misdiagnosed as a common cold, rhinovirus, RSV, or the flu. Typical symptoms include those of cold symptoms, runny nose, cough, sneezing, and achiness. In more severe cases, wheezing and difficulty breathing has occurred. There have been four (4) deaths associated with Enterovirus. In addition, the Colorado Health Department reports that partial paralysis has occurred in 12 Colorado children infected with Enterovirus D68. (http://dpo.st/1CTtJgp) The CDC is investigating the deaths and the potential paralysis link.
Who's at Highest Risk for Contracting Enterovirus D68?
Infants, children, and teenagers are at highest risk for contracting the disease as they have not had sufficient exposure and therefore immunity against this virus. Those who have asthma and reactive airway disease are at higher risk to have more severe symptoms and illness from the virus.
How Do I Prevent Enterovirus D68?
•Hand washing, hand washing, and hand washing! Hand sanitizers are not effective in prevention. This virus spreads by cough, sneeze, or touching an infected surface.
•Non-alcohol disinfectants are effective. However, hand washing is still the best.
•Keep your sick child home. This is very important to prevent the spread of this virus. Remember, in some, this virus acts like the common cold. However, if your child spreads it to someone else, the child may develop more severe symptoms.
•Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
•Clean commonly used surfaces (countertops, door knobs, toys, etc) with bleach water.
When Should I See a Doctor?
If you or your child have asthma or reactive airway disease, develop cold symptoms, fever, wheezing or shortness of breath, then go see a doctor.
What is the Treatment for Enterovirus D68?
There is no cure for this virus. There is supportive care. The sooner you or your child receive supportive care, the better the outcome. That being said, it doesn't mean that the moment you or your child gets sick, you should run to the pediatrician. However, if you or your child has asthma or reactive airway disease, become ill with fever, cold symptoms, is wheezing or short of breath, your pediatrician should examine your child.
Enterovirus D68 is most commonly a mild disease. However, this year, it has become a scary one. Knowing your child's health, closely observing them if they are ill, and follow-up care with your pediatrician will help in the treatment of Enteovirus D68, so it won't terrify you.