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About the Enterovirus D68

You may have heard of a nasty cough that has been hospitalizing some children in the United States. It has now been detected in Canada, including communities in Ontario. This particular bug is called the Enterovirus D68, a cousin of the family of common cold viruses. 

Enterovirus D68 Fact Sheet

For most people including most children, this virus will cause mild illness similar to the common cold. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches. Most people don’t need a visit to the clinic or the hospital, and will get better on their own. There is no specific antibiotic or antiviral medication or vaccine for D68.

In some cases, D68 like other respiratory infections can get worse. It may cause some children (mainly those with asthma or other respiratory medical conditions) to be ill enough to have difficulty breathing or to be extremely lethargic. If you or your child have difficulty breathing or feel very ill, you should seek medical attention, just like for other respiratory illnesses. People who have difficulty breathing may need hospital care where they will get oxygen and other supportive medical care.

The virus spreads like the common cold, by droplets from sneezing or coughing and from nasal mucus. It can also be picked up by touching surfaces that have been contaminated.

This virus behaves much like the cold or influenza, and protecting yourself and your children is much the same as with those diseases.

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer. 
  • Wash your hands: 
    • before and after eating
    • after you have been in a public place
    • after using the washroom
    • after coughing and sneezing
    • after touching common surfaces 
  • Cough and sneeze into your arm, not your hand. 
  • Keep your hands away from your face. 
  • Keep common surface areas clean and disinfected. 
  • Ensure your routine immunizations, including the upcoming annual flu vaccine, are up-to-date. 
  • Eat healthy foods and be physically active to keep your immune system strong. 
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
If you would like to speak to a registered nurse about your ill child, you can contact the Telehealth Ontario phone line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-866-797-0000 (TTY: 1-866-797-0007)

Call 911 if your child has any of the following:
  • Difficulty breathing / shortness of breath when doing very little or resting 
  • Blue lips; cold feet, hands and/ or toes; sudden paleness 
  • Extreme lack of energy; limp or unconscious 
  • Continuous vomiting or severe diarrhea with signs of dehydration such as dry tongue, dry mouth, decreased peeing (no urine for the past 6-8 hours), or very yellow/ orange urine 
  • Stiff neck, sensitive to light 
  • Seizures or convulsions 
  • Confusion or disorientation
Here are a few sources of information.

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