| What you should know about Enterovirus D68
An unusual number of children with severe respiratory infections have been admitted to hospitals in the Midwest, and the US Centers for Disease Control has found that many of these cases are due to infection with a virus called Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). There are over 100 kinds of enteroviruses, which mainly cause colds and other relatively mild diseases, but this one seems to cause severe problems for some children with other respiratory problems like asthma.
So far no confirmed EV-D68 infections have occurred in the Northwest, but there are several patients at Children’s Hospital in Seattle with respiratory infections that could be Enterovirus D68. Further testing is underway. One is a child under 5 years of age from Chelan County.
Infants, children and teens are most likely to get infected with enteroviruses and get sick. Many people infected by enterovirus do not have symptoms, so it is difficult to prevent EV-D68 from spreading. There is no specific treatment or antiviral medication for this virus. You can treat the symptoms and see a medical provider or seek supportive hospital care if you have a severe respiratory illness with wheezing and/or difficulty breathing.
We encourage people to take the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water and especially after toileting or diaper changes.
- Avoid close contact, such as touching, kissing and shaking hands, with people who are sick.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- People who have a bad cold should stay home from work, school or child care.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and toys.
If you or your child have asthma or other respiratory problems, be especially vigilant in the event of a common cold. Be ready to seek help if there is unusual difficulty in breathing. Do your best in advance to keep asthma and other respiratory problems under control by taking all medications and other measures as directed. Have a plan on how to get help if needed.