Enterovirus 68, more commonly known as EV-D68, was first discovered in the Midwest with approximately 30 reported cases in Illinois and Missouri near the end of August. Within two months, the virus has spread to 43 States and has reached 514 confirmed cases thus far. New Jersey and Florida are the newest States that EV-D68 has been discovered in, bringing the total state count up to 45.
Concerns over the spread of the virus have been under shadowed by the discovery of the Ebola Virus in the United States. Ebola is a contagious virus that is spread via contact with bodily fluids, and is not easily caught until an individual comes into contact with the infected fluids, and is not considered to be easily caught. EV-D68 is highly contagious and is easily spread through droplet in a cough, a sneeze, or even touching a contaminated surface where the cough or sneeze occurred. EV-D68 has infected mostly children and can be fatal if not treated properly.
New Jersey is one of the newest states that has been infected with the virus, with 14 known cases. The two newest cases are in Morris County and Camden, Middlesex. Pre-Schooler Eli Walter died of EV-D68 on September 25 in New Jersey, he is believed to be the first child to lose his mortality to the virus. Of the cases in New Jersey, all are children between the ages of one and 12 years old. Florida discovered its first case of EV-D68 when a young girl arrived at the hospital with symptoms of the virus. She is currently recovering, according to doctors.
Symptoms of Enterovirus 68 include common flue and cold warning signs and are rather mild in adults and older children. Individuals that are infected may find themselves with a stuffy nose, cough, and a slight fever. If not treated, the symptoms can escalate to include wheezing, a high fever, trouble breathing, nasal discharge, and possible dehydration. If left untreated when the serious symptoms arrive, death could result.
In order to lessen the spread of the virus, common cough etiquette is recommended by covering one’s mouth and nose, preferably with the inner elbow. Further ways to combat against the virus is to instill proper hygiene in children and adults by washing hands regularly, avoiding the sharing of snacks and drinks, and keeping areas clean and disinfected. If a child is not feeling well, it is recommended to keep him or her home from school and seek medical attention if there are concerns of infection.
If caught early, the virus can be controlled and treated. As the cold and flu season approaches, there is concern that the virus might be mistaken as a common cold or flu, allowing EV-D68 to spread further and faster than it already has.
John Dunn, of the Tampa General Hospital, feels that EV-D68 can be controlled within his hospital.
“We have a really highly skilled infectious disease department…. who are on top of all these things,”
[Photo Courtesy: MYArkLaMiss]