Enterovirus D68

Enterovirus D68

Is it a cold? Is it the flu?

No, but it sure looks like them. EV-D68 is a member of the family of enteroviruses. It is not a new virus. In the United States, enteroviruses tend to circulate in the community in the summer and fall.

Over the last several months, the United States has experienced an outbreak of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) associated with severe respiratory illness. From mid-August to November 12, 2014, CDC or state public health laboratories have confirmed a total of 1,116 people in 47 states and the District of Columbia with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68.

Enterovirus D68 causes symptoms very similar to a cold or influenza. They can be mild, moderate, or severe. People with EV-D68 may have body aches, runny nose, cough, sore throat, fatigue and in some cases fever. Most people who get EV-D68 recover on their own. A few go on to develop severe illness that requires hospitalization. These are the ones we tend to hear about in the news.

Prevention and Treatment
  • Because EV-D68 is caused by a virus, antibiotics are not effective in treating it.
  • Otherwise healthy individuals with mild to moderate symptoms should stay home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and talk to their healthcare provider if they are concerned about how they are feeling.
  • People with asthma should attempt to keep their symptoms under good control during the winter and use prescribed maintenance medications as directed.
  • Parents of children with asthma should be sure maintenance medications, nebulizers, and inhalers are used as directed by their child's healthcare provider.
  • Everyone over the age of six months should receive flu vaccine.
Reports from most states this fall have indicated reduced EV-D68 activity. However, EV-D68 infections could continue through late fall. Other respiratory viruses circulate in the late fall and winter. It will be difficult to determine if increased illness in the ensuing months is related to EV-D68, flu, or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

If you think you or a family member has EV-D68, the flu, or RSV be sure to wash your hands frequently, cover coughs and sneezes, and disinfect commonly touched surfaces. Try to avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing of food and beverages. For more information about EV-D68, click here.

Additional information available below:
2014 U. S. Outbreak, Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
New York State DOH Press Release
Ontario County Public Health Press Release
Kids and Asthma