The Enterovirus D68 is an infection of the respiratory system and is not like any other outbreak public health officials have seen before. It is not new to the medical industry however. It is what medical officials call an unusual strain, and the most surprising aspect is how severe it is now. This is especially the case in young children. The Enterovirus D68 has been increasing in incidence in North America, Africa, Europe and Southeast Asia over the last 10 years. Enterovirus D68 is a virus known for causing children to get flu-like symptoms and sometimes the results are deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it can be fatal when in the form of a respiratory virus, and could likely spread across North America.
According to the CDC, all the cases of Enterovirus D68 have affected children, but the virus can also affect adults. Before 2005, there were many adults that had contracted the virus. But the present strain mainly affects children. There are many reasons for this, with a strong possibility being that children have more acute respiratory symptoms than adults do. The virus can be especially problematic for children who suffer from asthma or other respiratory ailments. These children often need to be rushed to the Emergency Room and aided with breathing. This virus is one of hundreds of potential respiratory illnesses. The only way to identify the virus and whether the child has it is to perform a series of medical tests by a health care practitioner.
To date there have been many cases of the virus across North America and a number of deaths that have occured due to the virus. Like other viruses however, Enterovirus D68 has probably infected more people than the official statistics report. Only a small portion of those who actually have the virus have been tested because the infection can be mild and not life threatening in many cases. Medical experts have recommended that parents check their children, especially if they have a hard time breathing, chest pain, wheezing or lips that are blue. In these cases medical attention should be sought out immediately.
Symptoms Of Enterovirus D68
In most cases, the Enterovirus D68 will manifest as a cold or possibly a mild case of the flu. Even during an outbreak, many times Enterovirus D68 is diagnosed as a severe cold or influenza. But in certain people, the symptoms take on a greater severity; one that has not been seen before.
Treatment of the Virus
Enteroviruses change rapidly over time. Strains that were circulating 20 years ago are very unlike today’s virus genetically. There currently is no specific vaccine to treat the infection. The best course of action is to prevent an infection by making sure children wash their hands frequently, because the virus is transmitted easily like influenza. Additionally, do not send your child to school if he or she feels sick.