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Facts About...


What is it?

Enteroviruses are a group of viruses that can cause a range of symptoms – from no symptoms at all, to mild cold-like symptoms, to illnesses with fever and rashes, to neurologic problems. Infections with enteroviruses are very common and most people have mild symptoms. There are about 100 types of enteroviruses. EV-D68 is a specific type of enterovirus that causes respiratory illness ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms can include a cold-like illness with coughing and wheezing. Children with asthma seem to have a higher risk for severe respiratory illness.

How is it spread?

EV-D68 virus can be found in saliva, nose and throat secretions and spread to others when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches a surface that is then touched by others. Touching objects or surfaces contaminated with these secretions can pick up the virus on hands which can enter the body when someone touches their mouth, nose, or eyes.

What do I look for?

Signs and symptoms can be mild and include runny nose, fever, cough, sneezing, body and muscle aches. More severe symptoms include wheezing and difficulty breathing.

How is it treated?

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for EV-D68. Most people do not require any treatment and will get better on their own. Mild pain and fever may be managed with over the counter medication (aspirin should be avoided in children) under the supervision of a doctor/health care provider. Some people with severe respiratory illness or worsening of symptoms may require hospitalization.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or use hand sanitizer when hands are not visibly dirty.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow and encourage others to do the same.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Do not share water bottles, straws, eating utensils, musical instruments, cigarettes, toothbrushes, toys or anything that has been in contact with saliva, nose or throat secretions.
  • Avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging, or sharing cups and utensils with people who are ill.
  • Stay home when you are sick and isolate yourself from others.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are commonly touched around the home such as door knobs and toys.

October 6, 2014