This school year has already started off running! By now you have all heard about the respiratory virus (EV-D68) that is now in Massachusetts. Below is some information that we hope you find helpful.
What is enterovirus D68?
Enterovirus D68 (EV 68) is one of many enteroviruses, a large group of over 100 viruses that can cause
respiratory illness, diarrhea, rash and even meningitis and encephalitis. This particular virus was first
identified in California in 1962. It has been circulating worldwide for several years, causing mild to
severe respiratory illness.
What are the symptoms of EV 68?
EV 68 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness.
• Mild symptoms may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches.
• Some children, ill with EV 68 infection, have difficulty breathing, and wheezing. Most of these
children had asthma or a history of wheezing.
How does EV 68 spread?
Since EV 68 causes respiratory illness, the virus can be found in an infected person’s respiratory
secretions, such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum. EV 68 likely spreads from person to person when an
infected person coughs, sneezes or touches surfaces contaminated with virus.
Who is at risk?
In general, infants, children, and teenagers are most likely to get infected with enteroviruses. That's because they do not yet have immunity (protection) from previous exposures to these viruses. This appears to be true for EV 68. Among the EV 68 cases in identified during August and September 2014, children with asthma had a higher risk for severe respiratory illness.
How is EV 68 treated?
There is no specific treatment for people with respiratory illness caused by EV 68.
- For mild respiratory illness, you can help relieve symptoms be taking over-the-counter medications for pain and fever. Aspirin should not be given to childres.
- People with severe respiratory illness should be seen by a healthcare provider and may need hospitalization.
- There is no antiviral medications available for people who become infected with EV 68
Our Advice for parents and children is:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys, doorknobs, especially is someone is sick
- If you have any questions contact your primary care provider.
Massachusetts Department of Public Health Fact Sheet- Karen Turmel RN BSN MEd, Nursing Supervisor