In a follow-up to a guest post by Avian Flu Diary’s Mike Coston Friday, The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (DHSS) released a health alert to convey more information on the outbreak:

Kansas City, Missouri Public domain image/Jrmiller962
Kansas City, Missouri
Public domain image/Jrmiller962

Recently, a pediatric hospital in Kansas City, Missouri has experienced over 300 cases of respiratory illnesses in their facility. Approximately 15% of those illnesses have resulted in children being placed in an intensive care unit. Testing of specimens from several cases at a specialized laboratory at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that 19 of the 22 specimens were positive for Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). The St. Louis area is also experiencing a recent increase in pediatric respiratory illnesses. Many specimens from those cases have tested positive for enterovirus, and further testing for specific virus type is pending. To date, no deaths have been reported due to EV-68 in Missouri.

There are more than 100 types of enteroviruses. It is estimated that 10 to 15 million enterovirus infections occur in the United States each year. While most enterovirus infection are mild or asymptomatic, some can be serious.

Most enterovirus infections in the U.S. occur seasonally during the summer and fall, and outbreaks of tend to occur in several-year cycles. EV-D68 infections occur less commonly than those with other enteroviruses. EV-D68, like other enteroviruses, appears to spread through close contact with infected people.

Unlike the majority of enteroviruses that cause a clinical disease manifesting as a mild upper respiratory illness, febrile rash illness, or neurologic illness (such as aseptic meningitis and encephalitis), EV-D68 has been associated almost exclusively with respiratory disease.

There is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infections; specifically there are no anti-viral medications currently available for this purpose. Many infections will be mild and self-limited, requiring only symptomatic
treatment. Some people with severe respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 may need to be hospitalized and receive intensive supportive therapy.

Vaccines for preventing EV-D68 infections currently are not available. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page