Lately the news is filled with stories about a scary new virus that is making many kids across the United States and Canada unwell. It is called Enterovirus-68 or EV-68. I am finding mass alarm at the Hospital for Sick Children and in my office, with many parents not knowing if their child is affected, what to do about infection and how to prevent the spread.

WHAT IS EV-68?

EV68 is one of hundreds of enteroviruses, including such viruses as coxsackieviruses (that cause hand-foot-and-mouth disease) and polioviruses. They generally cause symptoms of a common cold, with runny nose, congestion, cough, fever and diarrhea.

WHY THE SUDDEN CONCERN?

For the last 50 years, EV-68 has causes sporadic outbreaks in the United States, the Philippines, Netherlands, and Japan. We generally see these outbreaks in entero-viruses season, typically August-September. This outbreak is hitting hard, with many children and adults affected, with some becoming quite ill. Children less than 5 years of age, those with a history of asthma and immunocompromised people are most at risk of illness.

By mid-September we have seen thousands of confirmed cases across the US and Canada, with many more not confirmed with testing.

 

Read here for more on the signs and symptoms, treatment and prevention of EV-68.

 

For more on preventing colds and viruses, check this out.