Enterovirus D68, abbreviated EV-D68, belongs to a vast category of viruses known as enteroviruses. It is a major global contributor to acute lower respiratory tract diseases and was first discovered in California in 1962.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in the U.S., EV-D68 is among the various non-polio enteroviruses that lead to 10 to 15 million annual health problems, especially in children. Here are some common questions about the EV-D68 disease.
What Is Enterovirus D68?
EV-D68 is a non-polio enterovirus that leads to upper respiratory diseases, mostly in children and adolescents. EV-D68 is a quick-spreading virus, closely linked to diseases like hand-foot-and-mouth disease and polios.
What Are the Symptoms of Enterovirus D68?
Most children who acquire EV-D68 infections display mild to moderate symptoms including a runny nose, mild fever, coughing, sneezing, and body aches. Children with a history of any respiratory issues such as asthma, can experience severe complications like wheezing and difficulty breathing for which they may require hospitalization.
How Can Enterovirus D68 be Diagnosed?
EV-D68 can be diagnosed in patients with existing respiratory infections through lab tests with samples from an individual's nose and throat. Many hospitals and some physicians’ offices can examine ill patients to confirm if they have enterovirus infection. However, most cannot conduct specific testing to ascertain the type of enterovirus like EV-D68.
How Dangerous Is Enterovirus D68?
EV-D68 can be highly dangerous to some individuals,but for most people, it usually is not serious. Young children with breathing problems such as asthma can develop severe breathing difficulties when afflicted with this enterovirus. Some of them will require hospitalized and supportive care.
How Does Enterovirus D68 Spread?
EV-D68 is believed to mainly pass on through respiratory secretions including saliva, nasal, mucus, and cough droplets. The virus then gets dispersed through an infected person's coughs or sneezes, or through infected surfaces and hands.
A lot of people who have non-polio enteroviruses infections, do not experience symptoms, but can still pass on the virus to others. This makes it tough to keep the infection from spreading.
How Long Does Enterovirus D68 Last?
The extent and intensity of illness from a respiratory virus like EV-D68 differs from person to person. Most people will experience mild cold symptoms, an improvement in their health over a few days, and not require a doctor visit. However, children who have trouble breathing or undergo an asthma attack will require a doctor's diagnosis.
What Is the Treatment for Enterovirus D68?
There is no specific Enterovirus D68 treatment available for respiratory diseases caused by EV-D68. However, you can use these guidelines to relieve symptoms:
- For moderate respiratory health problem, one can help alleviate symptoms by consuming over-the-counter medicines for pain and fever.
- Aspirin should NOT get administered to children.
- Some people with critical respiratory illness may require hospitalization.
How to Prevent Enterovirus D68 Infections
There are still no vaccines for EV-D68, so parents and children should always stick to these necessary steps to prevent catching and spreading EV-D68 and other respiratory diseases:
- Wash hands by applying soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer or wipes
- Avoid close contact including kissing, hugging or sharing eatables with sick people
- Refrain from touching eyes, mouth and nose with dirty hands
- Use a tissue or shirt sleeve instead of your hands to cover coughs and sneezes
- Clean and disinfect all significant areas and items in the house
- Stay indoors when sick
If you or your child experiences cold or flu-like symptoms, reach out to your nearest walk-in treatment for Enterovirus D68. You will get a timely and suitable treatment for Enterovirus D68 from medical professionals on visiting your local urgent care or walk-in clinic.