New York State Department of Health Monitoring Progress of Respiratory Virus Causing Illness Among Children in Midwest
Health Care Providers Urged to be Aware of the Signs and Symptoms of EV-D68
ALBANY, NY (September 10, 2014) - With several states in the Midwest recently reporting clusters of an enterovirus, EV-D68, that is causing some cases of severe respiratory illness among children and other individuals, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) is monitoring for the illness in New York and advising health care providers to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the virus. While there are more than 100 types of enteroviruses, which are very common viruses causing respiratory illness, EV-D68 is a type that is less common.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with health departmentsin several states to investigate suspected clusters of respiratory illness.
"In addition to working with the CDC, we are partnering with local health departments and health care providers to monitor any increases in severe respiratory illnesses in New York," said Acting State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, M.D., J.D. "This type of illness is one to take very seriously, and it is important to be aware that common steps to avoid illnesses such as the flu will help protect people from enteroviruses."
At this time, no outbreaks of EV-D68 in New York State have been reported, and DOH surveillance will continue to closely monitor emergency departments across the state. Health care providers are asked to report clusters or outbreaks of severe respiratory illnesses to their local health department or to DOH.
Enteroviruses are transmitted through close contact with an infected person, or by touchingobjects or surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching the mouth, nose, oreyes. There is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infections other than management of symptoms, and no specific anti-viral medications currently available for this purpose, which is why it is important to take steps to protect yourself and others from respiratory infections such as enterovirusincluding:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your 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 toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
Symptoms of enterovirus illness can include fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing,and bodyaches. Because EV-D68 has not been commonly reported, the full spectrum of illness due to this type of enterovirus is not well known.
DOH will continue to work closely with the CDC, local health departments, and health care providers to monitor circumstances in the State and across the U.S. Additionally, DOH has issued a health alert with information and guidance regarding EV-D68 to health care providers across the state.
- 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.
- Enteroviruses can cause respiratory illness, febrile rash, and neurologic illnesses, such as aseptic meningitis (swelling of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord) and encephalitis (swelling of the brain).
- Most infected people have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, but some infections can be serious.
- Infants, children, and teenagers are most likely to get infected with enteroviruses and become sick.
- Most enterovirus infections in the United States occur seasonally during the summer and fall.
- Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) infections are thought to occur less commonly than infections with other enteroviruses.
- EV-D68 was first identified in California in 1962. Compared with other enteroviruses, EV-D68 has been rarely reported in the United States.
More information about enterovirus EV-D68 can be found at: