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