An unusually high number of hospitalizations from a common virus have concerned health workers in 10 Mid-western states. These states have contacted the CDC as a result of the large clusters of infection. Enteroviruses are common in the summer and fall months and generally hit a peak in September. Children are the most affected by the virus, with some hospitals reporting as many as 30 children a day requiring hospitalization. A large number of patients are also being treated in intensive care. The virus presents with symptoms of a severe cold, but can also include difficulty breathing and a rash.
The CDC and local hospitals have been working to determine how many of the hospitalizations resulted from a particular enterovirus strain, EVD-68. At least 30 patients in Kansas City, Missouri have been identified as having the EVD-68 strain. This strain was identified in the 1960’s and no vaccine or specific treatment is available.
Many infections will be mild and self-limited, requiring only symptomatic treatment,” it [the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services] said. “Some people with several respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 may need to be hospitalized and receive intensive supportive therapy.”
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services recommends washing hands often and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs. The agency also suggests staying home if symptoms of illness appear.