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Likely you’ve heard of Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) on the news. It’s one of more than 100 non-polio enteroviruses and it can kill. But here are the facts.
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.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 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.
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 prevent yourself from getting and spreading EV-D68 and other respiratory illnesses by following these steps:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or shirt sleeve, not your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
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.
Content courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.