Freqently Asked Questions

What are the symptoms?

  • EV-D68 causes symptoms that are similar to the symptoms of a cold or flu, such as cough, sneezing, runny nose, body aches, or fever, but in this outbreak, many children did NOT have a fever.
  • EV-D68 infection may be mild, but in children with a prior history of asthma, it can cause serious problems such as wheezing or difficulty breathing.  As always, if your child has difficulty breathing or wheezing, please seek immediate medical care.   Signs that your child is having trouble breathing can include wheezing, difficulty speaking or eating, blueness around the lips, or the belly pulling in with breaths.

How is it spread?

  • Enterovirus D68 is thought to spread from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or contaminates a surface with their respiratory secretions.  Enteroviruses in general can also be spread in the stool.

Is there a treatment?

  • As for colds, there is no specific treatment for enterovirus infection. However, there are treatments available for the resulting breathing problems.

How can I prevent infection with Enterovirus D68?

  • To prevent enterovirus and other infections, wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers.
  • Hand hygiene with soap and water is preferred as alcohol-based hand sanitizers have limited effectiveness against enteroviruses.
  • 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 toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

Is there any special kind of cleaning needed to get rid of Enterovirus D68?

  • EV-D68 is a non-enveloped virus. Thus, bleach or another hospital-grade disinfectant with an EPA label claim for non-enveloped viruses (e.g. norovirus, poliovirus, rhinovirus) should be used for environmental disinfection of surfaces.

Is there a vaccine?

  • There is no vaccine to prevent it.

How do we test for EV D68?

  • EV D68 can only be detected by specialized testing at a small number of public health laboratories around the country, including the California Department Public Health lab.  Currently only hospitalized patients <18 years of age with severe respiratory illness without another cause identified are being tested.  It takes at least 2-3 weeks for test results.

What is the Alameda County Public Health Department doing related to Enterovirus D68?

  • Alameda County is monitoring information from CDC and CA Department of Public Health as it emerges about this infection
  • Alameda County is working with local hospitals to identify and conduct testing on children with serious respiratory infections that may be due to enterovirus D68.
  • A Health Advisory to Clinicians was issued on 10/1/14
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