Type of disease: Rare conditions
Enterovirus 68 (EV68, EV-D68 or HEV68) is a type of enterovirus (see Enterovirus) that can cause mild to severe respiratory illness. Enteroviruses as a group are fairly common illnesses however EV68 is uncommon. Enterovirus-68 infections are difficult to track, because its symptoms are like the symptoms of the common cold and other illnesses. Many hospitals and clinics do not test for specific types of enteroviruses. Common symptoms include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body/muscle aches. However, more severe infections may cause difficulty in breathing and even respiratory failure. Infants and children under the age of 5 are at the highest risk for serious infections, but older children and teenagers may also be at risk, because they have not yet developed immunity (protection from) to many viruses. Children with asthma seem to have a higher risk for respiratory problems with this virus and may need to be hospitalized. The virus can be spread through saliva, sneezing, or touching contaminated surfaces. Currently there is no vaccine or cure for this illness. Over-the counter medications for pain and fever can help relieve mild symptoms. Anyone, especially very young children or children or teens with asthma, should see a doctor immediately if breathing becomes difficult. To best protect yourself, wash hands often with soap for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid kissing, hugging, sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick. Frequently disinfect touched surfaces such as toys or doorknobs if someone is sick.