Enteroviruses and enterovirus D68

Translations (DOH 821-086)( (PDF)

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What is an enterovirus?

Enteroviruses are very common viruses; there are more than 100 types. It is estimated that 10 to 15 million people get enterovirus infections in the United States each year.

Most people infected with enteroviruses have only mild symptoms or none at all, but some infections can be serious.

Most enterovirus infections in the United States occur during the late summer and fall.

What is enterovirus D68?

  • Although enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is not a new virus, it is less common than other enteroviruses. Compared with other enteroviruses, EV-D68 has been rarely reported in the United States for the last 40 years.
  • EV-D68 can cause serious respiratory symptoms. It can be particularly serious for children with asthma or other conditions that make breathing difficult. For these children, EV-D68 infections can result in hospitalization.

What are the symptoms of EV-D68?

The virus can cause symptoms similar to a cold. In some cases, symptoms can go beyond coughing and congestion to difficulty breathing or wheezing.

How is the EV-D68 virus spread?

EV-D68 appears to spread through contact with respiratory secretions (from coughs or sneezes) of infected people.

How is EV-D68 treated?

  • Many infections are mild. They require only medication taken for personal comfort.
  • People with severe difficulty breathing may need to be hospitalized and may receive intensive supportive therapy.
  • No medications are currently available for treating EV-D68 infections.

What can be done to avoid getting an EV-D68 infection?

There are currently no vaccines for preventing EV-D68 infections. Do the following to reduce the risk of getting infected with EV-D68:

  • Children and adults with asthma should be sure to have their asthma symptoms under control, and see a healthcare provider if they develop a respiratory infection and their asthma symptoms worsen.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
  • If you're ill, do not go to daycare, school or work.