The respiratory virus known as Enterovirus D68 (EVD68) has been sweeping the country this summer, primarily infecting children. So far 691 people in 46 states have been infected. Luckily, enterovirus is typically a summer virus, and it’s season shall soon come to an end.
Children with Asthma may have Worse Outcomes with EVD68
While the signs and symptoms of EVD68 generally mirror that of other respiratory viruses and can include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches. In some children wheezing and difficulty breathing can develop. The most deadly form of the virus seems to be more widespread in the Midwest. At the peak of the Kansas City-area outbreak their 354-bed hospital was filled, and Children’s Mercy had 100 patients in their pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), three times more than normal for this time of year. Patients usually end up in the PICU due to severe bronchospasms, and often many children affected by the virus suffer from asthma or have had episodes of wheezing in the past. This video describes EVD68 in more depth.
“Tip of the Iceberg”
Public health officials and physicians are scrambling to keep up with hospital admissions and Emergency Department (ED) visits in 10 states across the country as an epidemic of children presenting with severe respiratory symptoms spreads across the US. Mark Pallansch, the director of CDC’s Division of Viral Diseases has said that these increased hospitalizations could represent, “just the tip of the iceberg in terms of severe cases” and have prompted health officials in Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Kentucky to reach out to the CDC for further assistance.