Enterovirus D68

September 23, 2014

Enterovirus D68 Fact Sheet

What is Enterovirus D68?

There are about 100 types of Enteroviruses. Enterovirus D68, also known as EV-D68, is a respiratory virus that has been affecting children. There are confirmed outbreaks in western Canada and throughout the United States.

Mild to moderate symptoms may include runny nose, sneezing, cough and body and muscle aches and sometimes a fever.          

Severe symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing and difficulties breathing.

Who is at risk?

Children, and teenagers, particularly those with asthma, are more at risk for catching Enterovirus D68. This is because they do not have immunity (protection) against it yet. 

How is it transmitted?

The virus can be found in an infected person's respiratory secretions, such as salvia, nasal mucus, or sputum (mucus that is coughed up from the lower airways).

Similar to a cold, it can spread from person-to- person when an infected person coughs, sneezes or touches a contaminated surface.

When do infections from Enteroviruses usually occur?

Enteroviruses usually occur in the summer and fall.

Is there a vaccine or specific treatment for Enterovirus D68?

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for people with Enterovirus D68.

Most cases are mild to moderate, and affected people generally recover on their own.

For mild respiratory illness, you can help relieve symptoms by taking over-the-counter medications for pain and fever. Aspirin should not be given to children. People with severe symptoms may need to be seen by a doctor.

How do I protect myself?

Protect yourself from respiratory illnesses by following these steps:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow and not your hand.
  • Avoid touching 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.
  • Stay home from work, school and other activities if you are ill.
  • Stay at least two metres (six feet) away from people who are ill.
  • People with asthma are higher risk for respiratory illnesses.  They should regularly take medicines and maintain control of their illness during this time.
  • Get the flu shot.

Should I bring my child to the hospital

Respiratory illnesses can be caused by many different viruses and have similar symptoms.

Not all respiratory illnesses are due to EV-D68. Anyone with respiratory illness should contact their doctor if they are having difficulty breathing or if their symptoms are getting worse.

Take your child to the hospital if their symptoms worsen or if they have troubles breathing, experiencing shortness of breath or are wheezing significantly.

Most children will react to the virus like they have a cold or the flu and a trip to the hospital or doctor won't be necessary.                                                                                                                                                                                 

What to expect when I come to the hospital

Come to one of Lakeridge Health's Emergency Departments. Once there, a doctor will assess you and provide a personalized care plan to help you get better.