More cases are anticipated in the coming weeks. CDPH has asked local health departments to submit samples from all rhinovirus/enterovirus positive specimens from hospitalized children less than 18 years of age or from clusters of cases of any age to CDPH for further typing. Several specimens have been received by CDPH for testing, and testing is underway.
“We are not surprised to find EV-D68 causing some illnesses in California given the apparent widespread nature of this virus in other parts of the country,” said Dr. Chapman.
EV-D68 causes respiratory illness and the virus likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches contaminated surfaces. Symptoms of EV-D68 include fever (although fever may not be present), runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches. Some children have more serious illness with breathing difficulty and wheezing, particularly children with a history of asthma.
Parents should seek medical attention immediately for children who are having any breathing difficulty (wheezing, difficulty speaking or eating, belly pulling in with breaths, blueness around the lips), particularly if the child suffers from asthma. There is no specific treatment for persons with EV-D68, nor is there a vaccine to prevent it. However, everyone six months of age and older should receive influenza vaccine every year to protect themselves against that important cause of respiratory disease.
Healthcare providers should consider EV-D68 as a possible cause of acute, unexplained severe respiratory illness, even if the patient does not have fever, and consider laboratory testing of respiratory specimens for enteroviruses when the cause of respiratory illness in severely ill patients is unclear.
- The best way to prevent transmission of enteroviruses is to:
Wash 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 and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
- Additional information about EV-D68 can be found on the CDC website at: http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/about/ev-d68.html ■