The New York State Department of Health is again advising parents and health care providers to be aware of the signs and symptoms of enterovirus EV-D68, a serious respiratory illness, which has now been confirmed in more than a dozen children in New York State. EV-D68 is causing cases of severe respiratory illness among children and other individuals, sometimes resulting in hospitalization, especially among children with asthma.
“It is important that we follow common sense rules to prevent the spread of this virus, as we do for flu and other contagious illnesses” said Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “Because there is no specific treatment or vaccination against this virus, our best defense is to prevent it by practicing proper hygiene.”
Cases have been confirmed in the Capital Region and Central New York. Specimens have been received from other regions for testing.
Enteroviruses are transmitted through close contact with an infected person, or by touchingobjects or surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching the mouth, nose, oreyes. There is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infections other than management of symptoms, and no specific anti-viral medications currently available for this purpose, which is why it is important to take steps to protect yourself and others from respiratory infections such as enterovirusincluding:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- 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.
- Use the same precautions you would use to prevent the spread of influenza.
These prevention steps are especially important for individuals or persons with family members who are infants, or who have chronic health conditions or compromised immune systems. Symptoms of enterovirus illness can include fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing,and bodyaches. Because EV-D68 has not been commonly reported, the full spectrum of illness due to this type of enterovirus is not well known.
In addition to the confirmed cases, more samples from around the state are on their way to the New York State Department of Health’s (DOH) Wadsworth Laboratory for testing. Wadsworth Laboratory is the only laboratory in the state that can confirm EV-D68.
On Friday, the CDC posted from mid-August to September 12, 2014, a total of 97 people in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky and Missouri have been confirmed to have respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page