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Enterovirus Update

The media continues to report on the Enterovirus outbreak and as predicted it has now been confirmed in our state and probably nationwide soon. As of October 7th there were 628 confirmed cases in 44 states. This likely does not reflect spread of the virus as much as increased awareness and testing for it. There are also reports of a very rare neurological weakness illness in Colorado and Boston. Although about half of those cases tested positive for Enterovirus it is not clear that it is causative. The CDC is working hard to better understand any possible connection. We need to remember that these cases are rare and be vigilant but not panicked that it will become widespread. A similar problem occurred in California not to long ago and then seemed to self resolve. If it is being caused by Enterovirus, it will likely decline in the winter as the Enterovirus season is different from cold and flu season.

The Enterovirus behaves much like the flu though not always with fever. As always if your child is acting more ill with lethargy or respiratory difficulty please call and we can help asses them. The Children’s hospital is no longer sending samples for testing for this as there is no specific remedy except supportive care. As we said in the previous post, if your child has asthma, start their medications if any respiratory symptoms like congestion or cough develop.

The best defense against the virus are the old standbys of good hand washing, covering coughs, not sharing drinks and staying away from those that are ill. There is no vaccine or anti viral medications that have activity against the Enterovirus.

The CDC is investigated 4 deaths in children that died with positive tests for Enterovirus. In at least one of those, a case in Rhode Island , a secondary Staph infection was the more likely cause. As with the neurologic illness, it is unclear the role that Enterovirus had in these tragic but extremely rare events.

We will try to keep the website updated as more information becomes available.