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Jessica C. Lohff-Phillips, D.O.

Internal Medicine | Adolescent Medicine for ages 10+ | Women's Health | Diabetes

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Enterovirus D68 and what you can do to prevent it

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150106EnterovirusEnterovirus D68 (EV-D68), a virus that can cause cold-like symptoms, has been receiving a lot of media attention lately. It's not because it's a new virus; in fact, it was first classified in 1962. The reason you may have heard of it is because it has been more prevalent the last few months. And, in some cases, it has caused severe breathing trouble for children, requiring hospitalization.

The rise in EV-D68 cases during 2014-15 was first reported in Missouri and Illinois; it was identified in Oregon during the fall. From mid-August to December 18, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or state public health laboratories have confirmed 1,152 cases of respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 in 49 states and in the District of Columbia.

EV-D68 symptoms are similar to regular cold symptoms, including a low-grade fever, cough and runny nose.  Enterovirus can also cause respiratory distress, especially in children with asthma, and in some cases can also cause neurologic symptoms, such as flaccid paralysis.  

Unfortunately, there is neither specific medication nor vaccination for Enterovirus D68; luckily, most cases can be treated like a regular cold with symptoms disappearing on their own in time. Occasionally, children will need to be treated in the hospital and given oxygen to help them breathe. Please see your health care provider if you or your child is having trouble breathing. Most hospitals cannot run the EV-D68 test but can send a sample to government-run labs.  

EV-D68 is found in an infected person's secretions, such as saliva. To help prevent the spread:

  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your mouth with your hands.
  • If you or your child is sick, stay home.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
  • Do not share cups, toothbrushes or eating utensils.
  • Clean surfaces that may have been touched by infected people.

For more information about EV-D68, visit the CDC website.

Tagged in: Enterovirus

Kind, friendly and dedicated to the medical profession, Dr. Jessica Lohff-Phillips is motivated to do her work because of her patients. She knew from an early age that she wanted to be a physician. Her medical practice combines her two passions, people and science.