Reviewed by Dan Brennan on April 14, 2016
Brian Rha, MD Medical Epidemiologist.
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Brian Rha: In general, infants, children, and teenagers are most likely to get infected with enterovirus and become ill. That’s because they don’t yet have immunity or protection from previous exposures to these viruses, and we believe this is true for children with EV-D68 as well. In the current EV-D68 situation, infants and young children in two hospitals in Missouri and Illinois were more likely to have severe respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. Several other states are also investigating similar clusters of people with severe respiratory illness, possibly due to EV-D68. There are no specific symptoms associated with EV-D68 infections. However, you should contact your doctor if your child has difficulty breathing or if his or her symptoms are getting worse. Even though most people who are infected with EV-D68 will only have mild symptoms, some people may become severely ill and need to be hospitalized. Most of the children who got very ill with EV-D68 infection, in Missouri and Illinois, had difficulty breathing and some had wheezing. Many of these children had asthma. There’s no specific treatment for people with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. Some people with a severe respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 may need to be hospitalized to receive supportive therapy. There are no antiviral medications currently available for people who have become infected with EV-D68. We also recommend taking the following preventative actions to protect against respiratory illnesses. Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid kissing, hugging, or sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick. And frequently disinfect touched surfaces such as toys and doorknobs. Especially if someone is sick.