The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has been notified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that 25 patients out of 34 persons tested so far are positive for enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). Most were hospitalized and one patient, a child less than 1 year of age from Washtenaw County, developed lower extremity paralysis.
The United States is currently experiencing a nationwide outbreak of EV-D68 associated with severe respiratory disease. Michigan has seen an increase in severe respiratory illness in children across the state, and the department is working with the CDC, Michigan local health departments and hospitals to monitor the increase.
Enteroviruses are very common viruses; there are more than 100 types. It is estimated that 10 to 15 million enterovirus infections occur in the United States each year. Symptoms of EV-D68 infection can include wheezing, difficulty breathing, fever and racing heart rate. Most people infected with enteroviruses have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, but some infections can be serious requiring hospitalization.
Enteroviruses are known to be a rare cause of acute neurologic disease in children, such as aseptic meningitis, less commonly encephalitis, and rarely acute myelitis and paralysis. Enteroviruses are transmitted through close contact with an infected person, or by touching objects or surfaces that are contaminated with the virus and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes. There is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infections but supportive care can be provided.
Young residents with asthma may be at an increased risk of severe complications and are encouraged to be vigilant in taking their asthma controlling medications. Further, Michiganders can protect themselves from enterovirus by taking general hygiene precautions:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers.
- Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
For additional information about EV-D68 or the national investigation, visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/about/EV-D68.html.