• Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68)

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What are Enteroviruses?

      • Enteroviruses are very common viruses—there are more than 100 different types.
      • Enteroviruses can cause respiratory illness, rashes with fever, and neurologic illness like aseptic meningitis (swelling of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord) and encephalitis (swelling of the brain).
      • Most people with enteroviruses have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, but some infections can be serious.
      • Infants, children and teenagers are most likely to become infected with enteroviruses and become sick.

    What is Enterovirus D68?

      • Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) infections are believed to occur less commonly than other enterovirus infections.
      • First identified in California in 1962, EV-D68 has been rarely reported in the United States in comparison with other enteroviruses.
      • EV-D68 has been reported to cause mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms of mild illness may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough and body and muscle aches.
      • Children with severe symptoms may experience difficulty breathing or wheezing.
      • Children with asthma are at highest risk of developing severe symptoms.

    How does EV-D68 spread?

      • The ways in which EV-D68 spreads are not yet well understood.
      • The virus causes respiratory illness and is found in saliva, nasal mucus or sputum (spit).
      • The virus likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes or touches contaminated surfaces.

    How is EV-D68 diagnosed?

      • Diagnosis of EV-D68 is done using specific laboratory tests on swabs from a patient’s nose or throat.
      • Although doctors and hospitals in Pennsylvania may be able to test for the presence of Enterovirus, they cannot test to determine if an illness is specifically caused by EV-D68.
      • Not all respiratory illnesses occurring now are due to EV-D68, and it is important that patients with respiratory illness be tested for other conditions that may have a specific treatment such as pertussis, influenza or respiratory syncytial virus.

    How is EV-D68 treated?

      • There is no specific treatment for EV-D68.
      • Many infections will be mild and require only treatment of the symptoms.
      • Some people with severe respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 may need to be hospitalized.
      • No antiviral medications are available for treating EV-D68 infections.

    Can EV-D68 be prevented?

      • There are no vaccines for preventing EV-D68 infections.
      • You can help protect yourself from EV-D68 and other respiratory illnesses by doing the following:
        • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers.
        • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
        • Cough into your sleeve or a tissue.
        • Avoid kissing, hugging and sharing cups, eating utensils, etc. with people who are sick.
        • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

    What is Pennsylvania doing in response to EV-D68?

      • The Pennsylvania Department of Health is monitoring the situation involving EV-D68 very closely. Several confirmed cases of EV-D68 have occurred in a Philadelphia hospital, and we are awaiting the test results of several ill children from other regions of the state.
      • Once EV-D68 is detected throughout Pennsylvania, further testing will not be necessary.
      • It is important to remember that testing for EV-D68 will not change the treatment an ill child will receive.

    Where can I get more information about EV-D68?

    Source: PA Department of Health & Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    September 16, 2014