Enterovirus D68

Pediatric respiratory therapists from Children's National Health System Asthma Clinic in Washington D C and a patient.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the enterovirus D68 causes about 10 to 15 million infections in the United States each year, and many hospitals are seeing patients this year. 

EV-D86 is related to the rhinovirus and more than 70 other enteroviruses, which are responsible for the common cold. There is always a spike of enterovirus in the late summer/fall.

What are the symptoms of enterovirus D68?

Symptoms are similar to those of a cold or asthma and include:

  • fever
  • wheezing
  • coughing
  • difficulty breathing

Infectious Disease specialists at Children’s National Health System say children with asthma or those who are less than 5 years old are more vulnerable to the virus. Allergies do not appear to play a role. EV-D68 has no vaccine and no specific treatment other than treating the symptoms.

How is it transmitted?

Transmission may occur through close contact with an infected person or by touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them and touching your eyes, mouth, or nose. 

What can parents do?

Hand washing and practicing good personal hygiene are the best way to prevent the spread of germs. There is neither a vaccine nor specific treatment for the enterovirus other than treating the symptoms. 

The CDC recommends protecting yourself and others from the virus by: 

  • Washing hands frequently especially after using the bathroom or changing diapers
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • Cleaning frequently touched surfaces

Parents should also consider the following to minimize your children's fears:

  • Find out what they know to hear any misconceptions or misunderstandings they may have
  • Stay informed of recent developments, teach sensible precautions, and explain the facts
  • Talk about hygiene to not only help protect your child from the illness, but will also keep him or her healthier in general

What should I do if I think my child has enterovirus D68?

If a child has the virus, the illness can escalate quickly. If your child has the symptoms listed above and you suspect your child may have the virus, contact your pediatrician right away. 

For more information, watch a presentation on emerging viruses by Roberta DeBiasi, MD, Chief, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases or watch infectious disease specialist Dr. Nalini Singh's interview with ABC7. 

Symptoms

Symptoms

Someone with mild illness may have: 

  • a fever
  • runny nose, sneezing, cough
  • skin rash
  • mouth blisters
  • body and muscle aches

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the infection also can cause:

  • viral conjunctivitis
  • hand, foot, and mouth disease
  • viral meningitis 

While less common, some people may develop:

  • myocarditis 
  • pericarditis 
  • encephalitis
  • paralysis

While rare, newborns may develop sepsis or infection of the blood and other organs.

Types of Non-Polio Enterovirus

Types of Non-Polio Enterovirus

Types of non-polio enterovirus include:

  • Coxsackievirus A
  • Coxsackievirus B
  • Echoviruses
  • Enterovirus D68 and other Enteroviruses