There have been more cases of enteroviruses reported to the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare (THL) than usual.
Most of the cases have mild symptoms, but at least in Turku, pediatric patients have also had to be hospitalized due to shortness of breath symptoms. Enterovirus D68 has been found in these patients, which usually only causes mild respiratory symptoms, but sometimes also shortness of breath or pneumonia.
Last year, 243 laboratory-confirmed enterovirus cases were reported to the infectious disease register. This year, there have been 217 cases, and the number is expected to increase.
Enterovirus infections are usually mild and resolve on their own within 1-2 weeks. However, more serious diseases occur every year. Enteroviruses mostly cause symptoms in children, but young people and adults can also get infected and have a symptomatic infection.
In addition to respiratory tract infections, stomach symptoms and actual enteropox, enteroviruses can cause rarer forms of myocarditis and meningitis, the most common symptoms of which are fever, headache and stiff neck.
Enteroviruses are transmitted from feces to hands and from hands to mouth or as a droplet infection. The most effective way to prevent infections is careful hand hygiene, which includes washing hands with soap and plenty of water.
Enteroviruses are very common, and during the same season, up to dozens of different types of viruses can circulate in the population, and the disease caused by them varies. Having the disease once protects against getting an infection caused by the same virus subtype, but later you can get an infection caused by another subtype.
Since 2008, the most common enterovirus infection in Finland and elsewhere in Europe has been caused by coxsackievirus A6.
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