Virus Hits Midwest Ahead of Flu Season
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified a fast-moving virus, hitting the Midwest, as EV-D86. It was first discovered in the 1960s in California and has remained somewhat dormant until recently. More than 80 cases of EV-D86 have been reported this month. It is one of about 100 types of Enteroviruses, which are typically prevalent throughout the summer and early fall. However, most types are similar to the common cold. EV-D86, on the other hand, is presenting with predominant respiratory problems severe enough to cause hospitalization for many affected patients.
“This unusual virus is related to the common cold virus, but appears to cause a more serious severe flu-like illness,” explains Utica Park Clinic internist Dr. Jeffrey Galles. “Outbreaks have been reported across the U.S. in at least 10 states -- Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Iowa, Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Georgia. Symptoms initially seem much like a common cold, but then rapidly worsen.”
Symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, increased respiratory rate, and fever. Patients with EV-D86 do not have to present with all of these symptoms, however. “This illness appears to be more common in children and adolescents, but can affect adults,” adds Dr. Galles. “There is no treatment or vaccine for the virus, which is spread by contact or droplets (coughing). We encourage families who have children with cold-like symptoms that cause difficulty breathing to consult with their doctor immediately.”
As we enter into the start of flu season, Dr. Galles reminds parents to educate their children on how to prevent the spread of illness. “Simple hand washing precautions should be followed to prevent the spread of any of the common respiratory infection that we see every fall and winter,” he says. “If your child is ill, it is best to keep them home until they are well.”