Infectious Diseases

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Enterovirus D68

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What is Enterovirus D68?

Enteroviruses, such as Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), are very common viruses and generally circulate and peak in the summer and fall months. Enteroviruses are a group of  about 100 viruses that can cause a range of symptoms - from no symptoms at all, to mild cold-like symptoms, to illnesses with fever and rashes, and to more severe illness requiring hospitalization.  Infections with enteroviruses are very common and most people have mild symptoms. For EV-D68, children with asthma or respiratory medical conditions seem to be at higher risk for a more severe respiratory illness.

How is it spread?

It can spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing, by close contact with infected persons or by touching contaminated surfaces.

What are the symptoms?

EV-D68 is a specific enterovirus that causes a common cold-like illness ranging from mild to severe, with symptoms including fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches. However, in some cases, EV-D68 like other respiratory infections can 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 your child or you have difficulty breathing or feel very ill, just like for other respiratory illnesses, you should seek medical attention.  People who have difficulty breathing may need hospital care where they can provide oxygen and other supportive medical care.  

How is EV-D68 diagnosed?

Respiratory illnesses can be caused by many different viruses or bacteria,  and have similar symptoms.  EV-D68 can only be diagnosed by doing specific lab tests on specimens from a person’s nose and throat. Public Health Ontario (PHO) currently recommends that EV-D68 testing be done only for patients with severe respiratory illness or if clusters of severe respiratory illnesses are identified. Not everyone is required to have a test.

What is the treatment for EV- D68?

There is no vaccine or specific antibiotic or antiviral medication for EV-D68. Most people don’t require a visit to the doctor or any specific treatment and will get better on their own. People can use their usual symptomatic treatment or remedies for colds.

How do I protect myself and others?

  • As with many common viral infections and colds,, simple precautions can reduce the chances of getting EV-Clean your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub, including after touching commonly touched objects and surfaces, before touching your face, before preparing food and before eating.
  • Avoid touching your face as much as possible.
  • Stay at least two metres (six feet) away from people who are ill.
  • Frequently clean surfaces and objects that are commonly touched.
  • Ensure your routine immunizations, including the annual flu vaccine, are up-to-date.
To avoid spreading viral infections:
  • Stay home from work, school and other activities if you are ill.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow and not your hand.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
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 right away or take your child to the nearest hospital emergency department if your child has a new onset or worsening of the following symptoms: 

  • 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, sensitivity to light, 
  • seizures or convulsions, confusion or disorientation

For more information call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520, Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or see 
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