What is the Enterovirus D68 Virus (EV-D68)?
A fast-spreading virus related to hand-foot-and-mouth disease is hospitalizing kids across the country.
The virus, called enterovirus D68 or EV-D68, was first discovered in 1962 in California. But until now, it has only been tied to smaller clusters of disease around the U.S.
This is the first time it’s caused such widespread misery, and it seems to be particularly hard on the lungs.
As of Oct. 6, the CDC has confirmed more than 590 cases of EV-D68 in 43 states and Washington, DC. All of the cases have been in children except for one adult case.
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.
- Severe symptoms may include wheezing and difficulty breathing. See EV-D68 in the U.S., 2014 for details about infections occurring this year.
Anyone with respiratory illness should contact their doctor if they are having difficulty breathing or if their symptoms are getting worse.
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 a surface that is then touched by others.
What time of the year are people most likely to get infected?
In the United States, people are more likely to get infected with enteroviruses in the summer and fall. Cases are likely to decline later in the fall.
How common is EV-D68 in the United States?
In general, a mix of enteroviruses circulates every year, and different types of enteroviruses can be common in different years. Small numbers of EV-D68 have been reported regularly to CDC since 1987. However, this year the number of people reported with confirmed EV-D68 infection is much greater than that reported in previous years. See EV-D68 in the U.S., 2014for details about infections occurring this year.
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. Adults can get infected with enteroviruses, but they are more likely to have no symptoms or mild symptoms.
Children with asthma may have a higher risk for severe respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 infection.
How is it diagnosed?
EV-D68 can only be diagnosed by doing specific lab tests on specimens from a person’s nose and throat.
Many hospitals and some doctor’s offices can test ill patients to see if they have enterovirus infection. However, most cannot do specific testing to determine the type of enterovirus, like EV-D68. CDC and some state health departments can do this sort of testing.
CDC recommends that clinicians only consider EV-D68 testing for patients with severe respiratory illness and when the cause is unclear.
What are the treatments?
There is no specific treatment for people with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68.
Source: CDC website