Enterovirus D68 has spread to more than half of United States

Officials say 29 states and the District of Columbia are now affected.

Enterovirus D68 has spread to more than half of United States
Enterovirus D68 has spread to more than half of United States

HealthyDay News -- A total of 213 cases of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), the severe respiratory illness that typically targets children, have now been confirmed in 29 states and Washington, D.C., reported United States health officials.

Officials said the 29 states are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia.

So far, all the cases have involved children, with one exception in an adult, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Early this month, The Clinical Advisor spoke with Greg DeMuri, MD, a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases, who encouraged health providers to consider EV-D68 as a potential suspect if widespread respiratory illnesses start occurring in their communities.

“Clinicians should be suspect when lower respiratory tract pathology occurs,” said DeMuri, who is an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin.

Patients will appear to have a severe cold, with runny nose, sneezing, and cough. However, the illness can escalate quickly in some cases, and patients may start to have trouble breathing. Illness associated with EV-D68 infection typically last about a week.

EV-D68 is typically transmitted through close contact with an infected person or by touching objects or surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes, according to the CDC. Evidence of hypoxia, abnormal lung exam, and chest x-ray should also be considered during diagnosis.

“We don't know the scope of the disease caused by this strain,” emphasized DeMuri. “There may be a wider spectrum [of cases].”

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