Enterovirus-D68 or EV-D68 is one of the more than 100 types of Enteroviruses, which can cause about 10 million to 15 million infections in the United States each year. Let us know about the symptoms and treatments for EV-D68
Enterovirus-D68(EV-D68): An Overview
Enterovirus-D68 or EV-D68 is a virus that can make you feel like you have the flu or cold. However, you may have severe issues of breathing if it is severe and if you have asthma. Most cases of EV-D68 are mild. Babies, children and teenagers are most likely to get this infection. Individuals with weak immune systems have the highest risk for severe complications. There are more than 100 other Enteroviruses. Enterovirus-D68 or EV-D68 was first identified in California in 1962, and until recently has caused very few infections in the US. However, this strain of the virus began an outbreak in the Midwest and now has reached coast-to-coast, causing children respiratory issues.
Symptoms of Enterovirus-D68(EV-D68):
Some of the symptoms of Enterovirus-D68 or EV-D68 include runny nose, fever, coughing and sneezing. You might also feel achy.
The Enterovirus-D68 or EV-D68 can also result in wheezing and trouble breathing, especially in children with asthma or other respiratory illnesses.
In very rare cases, Enterovirus-D68 or EV-D68 can also cause serious problems, such as muscle paralysis or inflammation in the heart and brain.
Treatment of Enterovirus-D68(EV-D68)
There is no specific treatment for children with respiratory diseases caused by the EV-D68. However, in general, treatment is supportive to help relieve symptoms like fever, cough and discomfort.
For mild symptoms of the EV-D68, one can take the OTC medications like, Acetaminophen so as to help relieve possible pain or fever from the infection. Aspirin should not be given to children. One needs to see the doctor, if they are experiencing wheezing or respiratory problems. Oxygen therapy or some medications can help in easing the symptoms.
Children with severe symptoms may require hospitalization and require more intensive supportive care like assistance in breathing, fever control, pain-control medications, oral mucosal medication and topical skin medication for reducing the symptoms.
Prevention of Enterovirus-D68(EV-D68)
There is no vaccine to prevent Enterovirus-D68 or EV-D68.
However, as with several viral infections, some simple preventive measures can also reduce the chances of getting EV-D68.
- Clean your hands frequently using soap and water.
- Avoid touching your face as much as possible.
- Remain at least 2 meters or 6 feet away from people who are ill
- Clean surfaces and objects that are commonly touched frequently.
Apart from this, you also need to know some of the ways to avoid spreading of the Enterovirus-D68 or EV-D68 infections. You can do this by; remaining at home if you are ill, cough or sneeze into your elbow and not your hands and clean your hands frequently.
Individuals with asthma must ensure that they have their puffers readily available and also know how to use them properly. Seek medical attention on an immediate basis if wheezing does not respond to puffers or if you have serious breathing difficulty.
Do EV-D68 Cause neurologic problems?
The family of the enteroviruses includes some types of viruses that are known to cause neurologic problems like muscle weakness and acute flaccid paralysis or AFP. However, the connection between the virus and the neurological symptoms remains uncertain and it is under investigation.
How Dangerous is Enterovirus-D68 or EV-D68?
EV-D68 can be very dangerous in some individuals. However, for most people it is usually not serious. Young children with asthma or breathing problems, can have serious breathing issue develops when infected with EV-D68. Some of these children may require immediate hospitalization and supportive care.
How Does Enterovirus- D68 or EV-D68 Spread?
Enterovirus-D68 spreads very easily from one person to the other via the air with coughs, sneezes or other secretions, such as saliva, sputum or nasal mucus. If these particles that contain live viruses touch the surfaces that are then handled by normal, healthy or uninfected persons, the viruses can be transferred and infect the individuals.
How Long Does EV-D68 Last?
Most children will have mild to moderate symptoms for about 7 days. Those with severe symptoms of EV-D68 may have infections that last longer, for about 10-14 days. Unfortunately, the Enterovirus-D6i may be shed from the body for several weeks, so that an infected child or individual even though they recover in a week clinically, may still shed viruses that can infect others for several weeks.
How To Distinguish Between EV-D68 and Flu?
It is difficult to distinguish between EV-D68 and flu initially, as the symptoms in both cases are similar initially. However, specific laboratory tests can distinguish these two viruses. Such tests are done when the affected person develops more serious symptoms.
One more thing to note is that there is no vaccine to protect against, Enterovirus-D68 or EV-D68, but there are vaccines available to prevent the flu.