Enterovirus D68: Top 5 Must-Know Facts
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What is EV-D68?

Enterovirus D68: Top 5 Must-Know Facts

What you need to know about the EV-D68 virus.

1 / 5 What is EV-D68?

Enterovirus D68 is one of more than 100 similar viruses called non-polio enteroviruses. While many of these viruses are very common, only small numbers of EV-D68 infections have been seen since 1987. In 2014, a nationwide outbreak of EV-D68 has led to many cases of severe respiratory illnesses in children, especially among children with asthma. The reason for the spike in EV-D68 is unknown.

What are the symptoms, and how is it diagnosed?

2 / 5 What are the symptoms, and how is it diagnosed?

Enterovirus D68 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness. Mild symptoms often include fever, runny nose, cough, sneezing and muscle aches. Severe symptoms may include wheezing and trouble breathing. It's diagnosed by testing the fluids from a person's nose and throat. Some doctor's offices and hospitals can test for enterovirus, but most can't do the testing needed to detect the specific type of enterovirus, such as EV-D68. The CDC and some state health departments can do this special testing.

How is it spread?

3 / 5 How is it spread?

Enterovirus D68 is found in an infected person's saliva, nasal mucus or sputum (the liquid that comes up when you cough). EV-D68 can spread when someone with the virus touches, coughs or sneezes on a surface that is then touched by others.

Can it be treated or prevented?

4 / 5 Can it be treated or prevented?

There's no vaccine and no antiviral treatment for EV-D68. Most people with mild illnesses from enteroviruses get better within two weeks. You can help protect yourself and your family by:

  • frequently washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds
  • disinfecting areas in your home that are touched a lot, like toys and doorknobs
  • covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or shirt sleeve
  • avoiding close contact with ill people
  • staying home when you're sick

If you or your child has a respiratory illness and is having trouble breathing, call your doctor. Some people with severe symptoms from EV-D68 may need to be hospitalized.

Should I be concerned?

5 / 5 Should I be concerned?

The vast majority of people who catch enteroviruses have only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Children are more likely to get sick, especially kids with asthma. If you or someone in your family has asthma, the CDC recommends that you review your asthma action plan with your doctor, continue to take your long-term control medication and always carry your rescue medication. If asthma symptoms get worse and don't get better with medication, call your doctor right away.