Thursday, September 25, 2014

EV-D68 Spreads to Idaho

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 4:26 PM

It's being called EV-D68—or enterovirus D68—and it's a fast-moving virus related to hand-foot-and-mouth disease.

And it's in Idaho.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare confirmed that a child in eastern Idaho tested positive for the virus, resulting in hospitalization. The child has since been released from the hospital. Additionally, elevated levels of respiratory illnesses have been identified in southwest Idaho and in the Idaho Falls area.

To date, at least 30 states have reported EV-D68 this fall.

The infection doesn't follow classic symptoms such as a fever or runny nose. Instead, its victims have trouble breathing, much like asthma. The spread of the virus coincided with the beginning of the school year and many of the nation's emergency rooms have noticed a tangible increase as soon as children went back to school.

The CDC says children ages 6 months to 16 years are most susceptible and a lot of children with a history of breathing problems have been hit particularly hard.

And because it's a virus, EV-D68 isn't battled with antibiotics, and that's what is leading to so many hospitalizations. Experts say the virus can live in germs on common household surfaces for hours and as long as a day.

EV-D68 can only be diagnosed through specific lab tests on specimens from the nose or throat.

The public is urged to regularly wash hands, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, avoid sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as toys and doorknobs.

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