Monday, October 13, 2014

Second Case Of Enterovirus D68 Confirmed In Florida

CDC map of states with confirmed cases of
Enterovirus D68

The Florida Department of Health confirmed two cases of Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) in Florida last week.   The first case was discovered in a 10-year-old girl in Polk County, the second case was an 8-year-old boy in Escambia County. 

The United States is currently experiencing a mysterious, nationwide outbreak of EV-D68 associated with severe respiratory illness.   From mid-August to October 10, 2014, the U.S. Center for Disease Control or state public health laboratories have confirmed a total of 691 people in 46 states and the District of Columbia with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68.

EV-D68 can cause difficulty breathing in infants and young children.  The virus has signs and symptoms that are similar to the common cold, the flu, or respiratory syncytial virus.  Adults and older children might have only mild signs such as a cough, stuffy nose, and low-grade fever.  People with asthma, particularly children, are at increased risk for severe presentations of EV-D68 infection. In rare cases, EV infections may become serious enough to require hospitalization.   EV-D68 is suspected of causing at least two child deaths in the U.S. so far this year.

The DOH recommends that you call your doctor if you or your child has any of these symptoms:

trouble breathing
high fever with ill appearance
thick nasal discharge
signs of dehydration

How to prevent EV-D68:

EV-D68 is highly contagious and spreads through droplets in coughs or sneezes, or when someone touches a contaminated surface like a counter-top or doorknob. 

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers and disinfectants have not been found to be effective against EV-D68.  Instead, the DOH recommends frequent hand washing and the use of non-alcohol surface disinfectants.

Other prevention measures include:

Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow;
Avoiding sharing cups and eating utensils;
Refraining from kissing others, especially those with symptoms;
Frequently cleaning potentially contaminated surfaces (doorknobs, countertops, tables, toys, etc.) using a bleach solution (1 part bleach and 9 parts water).