Keep Your Child from Getting and Spreading Enterovirus D68 - Inf

Enterovirus Has Not Yet Been Reported in Montgomery County

Keep Your Child from Getting and Spreading Enterovirus D68 - Inf

The Centers for Disease Control is reporting that there has been at least one diagnosed case of enterovirus in Maryland, but so far no cases have been reported in Montgomery County.

From mid-August to October 1, CDC or state public health laboratories have confirmed a total of 500 people from 42 states and the District of Columbia with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. The 42 states are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. This indicates that at least one case has been detected in each state listed but does not indicate how widespread infections are in each state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working closely with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Children’s Hospital Colorado to investigate a cluster of nine pediatric patients hospitalized with acute neurologic illness of undetermined etiology. The illness is characterized by focal limb weakness and abnormalities of the spinal cord gray matter on MRI. These illnesses have occurred since August 1 coincident with an increase of respiratory illnesses among children in Colorado. Other similar cases have been reported in Boston and Michigan.

EV-D68 has been detected in specimens from four patients who died and had samples submitted for testing. The role that EV-D68 infection played in these deaths is unclear at this time; state and local health departments are continuing to investigate, according to the CDC website.

CDC is prioritizing testing of specimens from children with severe respiratory illness. Of the specimens tested by CDC lab, about half have tested positive for EV-D68. About one third have tested positive for an enterovirus or rhinovirus other than EV-D68.

  • The primary reason for increases in cases is that several states are investigating clusters of people with severe respiratory illness, and specimens are still being tested for EV-D68. It can take a while to test specimens and obtain lab results. That’s because the testing is complex and slower, and can only be done by CDC and a small number of state public health laboratories. As the backlog of specimens is processed, the number of states and confirmed cases will likely increase. These increases will not necessarily reflect changes in real time, or mean that the situation is getting worse.
  • Some of the increase will be from new EV-D68 infections since people are more likely to get infected with enteroviruses in the summer and fall. We are currently in the middle of the enterovirus season.

The CDC offered the following information on its website.

What is enterovirus?

Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is one of more than 100 non-polio enteroviruses. This virus was first identified in California in 1962.

What are the symptoms?

EV-D68 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness.

  • Mild symptoms may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches.
  • Severe symptoms may include wheezing and difficulty breathing. See EV-D68 in the U.S., 2014 for details about infections occurring this year.

How does it spread?

Since EV-D68 causes respiratory illness, the virus can be found in an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum. EV-D68 likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches a surface that is then touched by others.

To discuss symptoms, concerns or report a suspected case, contact the Department of Health and Human Services Disease Control Office: 240.777.1755.


Krista Brick

About Krista Brick

Krista Brick is a multi-media journalist with Montgomery Community Media.


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