A fast-spreading virus known to cause respiratory complications has been sweeping across our nation, and infecting our children. Enterovirus D-68 was first seen in 1962 in California. Up until this point, it has only been connected to smaller clusters of diseases. This is, indeed, the first time in recorded U.S. history that it is causing such widespread panic and mayhem. The virus is wreaking havoc on children’s lungs, especially those that are susceptible to asthma and wheezing episodes.
The signs and symptoms associated with EV-D68 are not classic like those in ordinary, more common viruses that we are familiar with. Fever, cough, and runny nose are usually what one associates viruses with, but EV-D68 does not conform to the same classic design. According to Mary Anne Jackson, MD, ” Only 25% to 30% of our kids have fever, so the vast majority don’t. Instead, kids with EV-D68 infections have a cough and trouble breathing, sometimes with wheezing. They act like they have asthma, even if they don’t have a history of it, she says. They’re just not moving air.”
EV-D68 is a respiratory illness, so therefore it is found in an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum. It has likely spread from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches contaminated surfaces.
“From mid-August to September 19, 2014, a total of 160 people in 22 states were confirmed to have respiratory illness caused by EV-D68.” The enterovirus D68 can only be diagnosed by doing specific lab tests on specimens collected from a person’s nose or throat. These new cases of EV-D68 infection were confirmed by the CDC, or state public health laboratories that reported their outcomes to the CDC.
Currently, there are no specific treatments for people with EV-D68. For patients that exhibit mild-like symptoms, doctors recommend using up over-the-counter medicines for pain and feverishness. If a child displays any symptoms such as difficulty breathing or wheezing, it is highly recommended that emergency personnel be called immediately, or they get to the nearest hospital to receive medical attention.
Enterovirus D-68 can be a very serious illness that can cause multiple complications. It is imperative that we educate our youth on the importance on personal hygiene and proper hand washing. Our children are our most precious gifts in this life, so, let us as a nation, do everything we can to protect them from serious illnesses like, EV-D68.