A pediatric case of EV-D68 was reported to the Denton County Health Department late Thursday afternoon, making it the first case of the illness for the county. The patient was hospitalized, and has been released. For patient confidentiality reasons, no further personal information will be released.
“We are reminding parents to take sick children with an unexplained respiratory infection to their healthcare provider, specifically children with asthma,” says Dr. Matt Richardson, Denton County Health Department Director. “When we see illnesses like this that have no specific treatment other than supportive care, we return to the basics of prevention. Hand washing, limiting exposure of sick kids to school settings and seeing the doctor when the child’s condition worsens are still the most important things parents can do.”
Health officials are monitoring the situation and have provided information to the medical community. Denton County Health Department is using the CDC’s information to educate the public in light of this new disease:
EV-D68 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness:
- Mild symptoms may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches
- Severe symptoms may include wheezing and difficulty breathing
In general, infants, children, and teenagers are most likely to get enteroviruses, because they do not yet have immunity (protection) from previous exposures to these viruses. Children with asthma are more at risk for severe respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 infection.
The ways EV-D68 are spread are not well-understood, but it likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches contaminated surfaces. Since EV-D68 causes respiratory illness, the virus can be found in an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum.
EV-D68 can be diagnosed with specific lab tests on specimens from a person’s nose and throat.
There are no antiviral medications or specific treatment for EV-D68. For mild cases, over-the-counter pain or fever medications may be used. People with more severe respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 may require hospitalization.
You can help protect yourself from respiratory illnesses, including EV-D68, by following these steps:
- Asthma patients should take special precautions – Since those with asthma are at higher risk for respiratory illnesses, they should regularly take medicines and follow guidance to maintain control of their illness during this time. They should also take advantage of influenza vaccine when available since people with asthma have a difficult time with respiratory illnesses.
- Wash your hands – Use soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you cannot wash your hands. This is the easiest way to stop the spread of germs.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth – Some germs can live for 2 hours or more on surfaces like door knobs, desks, and tables.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing – Always cough or sneeze into a tissue and throw it away to prevent the spread of the droplets. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crease of your elbow.
- Stay home when you feel sick – Stay home from work, stores, and public places, and keep sick kids home from school or daycare.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people – Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or utensils with those who may be sick.
- Practice good health habits – Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces – Pay close attention to toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
For more information, please visit the CDC enterovirus D68 website