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What is Echovirus Infection & How Does It Spread? | Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention, Complication of Echovirus

What is Echovirus Infection?

Echovirus or enteric cytopathic human orphan virus is amongst those many viruses that live in the digestive system of the gastrointestinal system. It belongs to a group of enteroviruses and is 2nd to rhinovirus (the most common virus affecting people).

10 -15 enterovirus infections occur in The United States every year.(1)

A person can get infected with an echovirus if he:

  • Comes in contact with a fecal matter contaminated with the virus
  • Breathe infected airborne particles
  • Touch surfaces contaminated with the echovirus

The illness caused due to echovirus is usually mild and can be easily corrected with home remedies and over the counter medications.

Symptoms Of Echovirus Infection

Most of the time people infected with echovirus do not show any symptoms.

If the symptoms of echovirus appear they are mild and are found affecting the upper respiratory tract. The Echovirus symptoms include:

Viral meningitis is a less common symptom of echovirus infection. Though not life-threatening, it might require a hospital visit and medical treatment. If these symptoms show up, it means the virus has infected the brain and the spinal cord.

The Echovirus symptoms presented by such a patients are:

The symptoms of Echovirus appear rapidly and would disappear within 2 weeks.

Rare, but serious symptoms of Echovirus would include:

How Does Echovirus Spread?

A person gets infected with echovirus by coming in contact with the fluids and substances such as saliva, mucus from the nose, or poop, of the infected individual.

Echovirus can also spread through:

  • Direct contact with an infected person
  • Coming in contact with contaminated surfaces or household objects
  • Coming in contact with the infected poop of the baby while changing diapers
  • Anyone can get infected with Echovirus. Those with a compromised immune system are more at risk of it.
  • It is seen that Echovirus is more common during summer and fall.(2)

How To Diagnose An Echovirus Infection?

Echovirus infections are very mild and the doctor would not specifically test for it.

It can be diagnosed with the following laboratory tests:

  1. Rectal Culture: A swab is taken from the rectum to test for the viral material
  2. Stool Culture: Stool sample is taken to test for the presence of the virus
  3. Throat Culture: In this test, a swab from the throat is taken to look for the presence of the virus
  4. Spinal Fluid Culture: Cerebrospinal fluid is taken to look for the virus which could lead to meningitis.

Treatment of Echovirus Infection

The symptoms of echovirus infection go away in a few days, even without treatment. In a few severe cases, it might last a bit longer.

Research is being conducted to find a specific treatment for echovirus infection as there is currently no antiviral treatment available for the same.(3)

Complications of Echovirus Infections

  • Myocarditis and encephalitis can develop due to echovirus infection which might require long term care and further treatment.(4) Physical therapy and speech therapy would be required for the loss of communication skills.
  • A child has a higher risk of getting an echovirus infection if the mother is suffering from the same while giving birth.(5) There are rare chances that the echovirus can severely infect the baby’s organs.(6)

How Can You Prevent An Echovirus Infection?

  • The echovirus infection can simply be prevented by keeping the environment clean.
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Regularly disinfect any shared surface at home or workplace
  • Keep the child care center clean

If pregnant and suffering from echovirus infection, follow a good hygiene practice while giving birth. This would help prevent the spread of infection to the child.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 24, 2020

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