Within a span of weeks, enterovirus, which is also referred to as EV-D68 is causing respiratory illness amongst children and has spread like wildfire across the United States.
The virus was first observed in the Midwestin August and has spread to 32 states. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed 220 cases of infection so far.
However, the numbers may be higher.
“What the CDC is reporting is clearly the tip of the iceberg,” thinks Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, the division director of infectious diseases at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.
What is causing the illness?
The answer is not that simple.
“Parents would love to know why this virus is causing severe disease and why there are more cases,” saysRafalTokarz, an associate research scientist at Columbia University who has studied the virus, “but we won’t be able to answer that until a lot more research is done.”
Who can get it?
Anyone can get infected with enterovirus but infants, children and teens are more likely to become sick because they have not yet built up immunity from previous exposures to the virus.
What are the symptoms?
A child suffering from the illness will have the following symptoms:
- trouble breathing
- runny nose, sneezing, cough
- skin rash
- mouth blisters
- body and muscle aches
What to do if someone has the symptoms?
Unfortunately there is no vaccine to protect one from the enterovirus infection. Take the patient to a hospital and follow the doctors’ instructions carefully. If at home, plenty of rest, fluids and over-the-counter medications will help ease uneasiness in standard cases.
Can it be stopped from spreading?
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid close contact, such as touching and shaking hands, hugging or kissing with people who are sick
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces