The Onondaga County Health Department’s Medical Director, Quoc Nguyen, MD, announced today that the New York State Department of Health’s laboratory has confirmed three additional cases of Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) in Onondaga County children. The total number of laboratory confirmed cases in Onondaga County is now five. The three new cases were each hospitalized and are expected to recover. The Health Department is working closely with the New York State Department of Health and local hospitals to continue to monitor the current EV- D68 situation locally.
Dr. Nguyen explained, “Enterovirus infections are common in the summer and fall months. Most people infected with EV-D68 do not have symptoms or have mild cold or flu-like symptoms. However, infants, children, and teenagers are most at risk for enteroviruses and may become ill. They are at increased risk because they have not yet acquired immunity from previous exposures. It is more serious for children with asthma and/or other respiratory diseases.”
Symptoms of enterovirus illness can include fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and body aches. The full range of symptoms is not well known. Parents and caregivers should have their children remain home if they are ill with respiratory illness until they are free of symptoms for 24 hours to avoid spreading the illness. If a child is ill with respiratory difficulty, seek medical care immediately.
The virus can be found in secretions such as saliva, nasal mucus, sputum and possibly stools. It appears to be spread through close contact with infected people and is likely spread from person- to -person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches surfaces. There is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infection. Many infections are mild and often go away after a few days and only require symptomatic treatment. However, some people with severe respiratory symptoms may need to be hospitalized for more advanced therapy.
The Health Department cautions that there is no vaccine for Enterovirus D68 and reinforces the following measures to help reduce the risk of becoming infected with EV-D68:
• Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers
• Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
• Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue
• Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick
• Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick