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Enterovirus D68

We are hearing a lot about Enterovirus D68 and it’s spread to Connecticut. It probably has been here all along this summer causing some respiratory tract infections. As of today it has not been confirmed here but it would not be surprising. It’s hard to know because we don’t routinely test for this virus. The CDC website stated that as of September 12th there have been around 100 confirmed cases in the country, though there may be many more that have not been documented and that number will likely grow as increased surveillance gets underway.

The virus behaves much like any other respiratory virus, similar to influenza though from a different family of origin. Most people get mildly ill followed by an immune response and complete recovery. In some people, particularly younger infants and asthmatics it may be more severe and lead to significant respiratory compromise and need for intensive care. This is rare and worthy of caution but not panic.

The CDC stresses that the usual precautions to prevent transmission be adhered to. Good hand washing, not sharing drinks, covering coughs and staying home when ill are all important ways to limit the spread of the virus.

If your child has asthma and takes daily medications, make sure that they be taken religiously. In addition, even if they don’t take daily medications, it would be prudent to start their regimen if cold symptoms develop as a prevention strategy, particularly if that is a known trigger for them.

The enterovirus family can really hang around and has a generally longer contagious period. The stools and respiratory secretions of infected people are both capable of spreading the germ, secretions for 1-3 weeks, stools for up to 6 weeks.

There is no vaccine for this illness and neither antiviral or antibiotic medications are helpful so care is supportive until recovery. Since this is in the enterovirus family it may decline as the weather turns more fall like, as they tend to predominate in the summer.

If your child develops cold symptoms watch for signs of difficult breathing, wheezing or lethargy. The virus is ┬átricky in that some children are not running fevers so don’t use that as a sign that they are not ill. Pay more attention to their breathing patterns.

Please call us if you suspect that your child is having any trouble breathing or have concerns or questions about the virus.

It certainly is an unwanted thing to have to deal with a flu like illness right before the official flu season.

By the way we have our flu vaccines in so get that done as soon as you can, no one needs to get the flu on top of the enterovirus.