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Enterovirus D-68 or EV-D68, Prevention is Still the Best Medicine

by: Amy Vestal on

What is Enterovirus-D68?

Enterovirus-D68 was first identified in the US in 1962. It is one of many non-polio enteroviruses which have only been associated with a few isolated clusters of disease in the past. It has not been a reportable organism to state and local health departments, so historical data on this virus is limited.

What are the symptoms and who is at Risk?

The EV-D68 virus has very similar symptoms to seasonal cold and flu viruses including; fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, body and muscle aches. The virus can cause mild to severe respiratory illness placing those with chronic respiratory illnesses such as asthma at highest risk. At this time, the CDC states that “in general, infants, children, and teenagers are most likely to get infected with enteroviruses and become ill. That's because they do not yet have immunity (protection) from previous exposures to these viruses. They believe this is also true for EV-D68.”  

What is the Treatment?

There is no treatment or vaccine for EV-D68. It is a virus like other cold and flu viruses and cannot be treated with antibiotics which are only used for treating bacteria. Viruses just need time to run their course and supportive measures given to those high risk patients that have chronic respiratory illnesses like asthma until the virus subsides.  

How Does the Virus Spread?

It is believed that Enterovirus D-68 spreads similarly to seasonal cold and flu viruses. Because the virus is found in respiratory secretions, infected persons likely spread the virus to others through coughing, sneezing, touching and thereby contaminating surfaces such as door handles, phones, money etc. Healthy people then touch contaminated surfaces without washing their hands and transfer the virus into their mouth, nose, eyes or onto other surfaces or people by hugging, kissing or sharing food, drink or utensils.

Prevention is Still the Best Medicine…

Hand Hygiene with soap and water or hand sanitizer is the best way to prevent obtaining the EV-D68 virus, specifically before eating or touching your eyes, nose, mouth or face. KEEP CALM AND WASH YOUR HANDS FREE signs available to remind everyone to wash their hands.

Sick people can avoid spreading the virus, by washing hands immediately after coughing, sneezing and touching infected secretions from the eyes, mouth and nose. COVER YOUR COUGH - Cough into a tissue or your sleeve and not your hands to prevent contaminating surfaces and others with the virus.

Schools should be focused on preventing the spread of EV-D68 virus in this high risk environment.  Sick children, should stay home.  Classroom environments should be cleaned often and the proper preventive products such as; hand washing stations, hand gel, tissues and surface disinfectants to clean common use items like, door handles, desks and toys should be readily available. Having a Cleaning Station in each classroom and educating children on how infections are spread will help to curtail this outbreak.

Healthcare Facilities can help to prevent the spread of the virus in their waiting rooms and other ports of entry by providing a Respiratory Hygiene Station which offers the CDC recommended items (hand gel, tissues and facemasks) in one location to prevent the spread of EV-D68 and other colds and flus while ill patients are in close proximity of each other in waiting rooms.

Hand Hygiene is your best defense against colds, flus and EV-D68, so wash well and wash often! Click Here for a list of our top flu prevention products.