An Old Virus Makes News

October 30, 2014 / Mike Siegel MD


​Recently, there have been reports in the press of cases of an infection caused by Enterovirus D 68.  This virus has been around for many years. The infections occur annually from July through October. Children tend to be more affected by the virus than adults. People with this type of infection usually present with flu-like symptoms that resolve spontaneously.  Children with other respiratory problems may get severe symptoms with this infection causing hospitalization for severe distress.  Even more alarming, there have been some cases where children develop polio-like paralysis with the illness.

There is no vaccine to prevent, or any medication to treat, the infection.  However, there are ways to decrease your chances of spreading and getting it.  The most common methods include the same ones used to prevent catching other types of infection caused by a respiratory virus.

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Avoid people with flu-like symptoms; colds and cough
  • Avoid touching your  eyes, nose or mouth
  • If you are feeling sick, stay home from work or school till your acute symptoms have stopped and it has been at least 24 hours since your last fever.  Unfortunately with the Enterovirus D68 infection, you may continue to shed the virus for a week or more after you are feeling better.  Please check with your physician as to when it would be best to return to work or school.