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Enterovirus

Information on Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68)
​The FNHA would like to provide important information on Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) for our citizens, Health Directors and health professionals working in First Nations communities in BC.

What should I know?
Enteroviruses are very common viruses that cause many different types of illness, most people who get infected by enteroviruses will not get sick. These viruses can cause many types of illness, ranging from mild cold-like symptoms (e.g. runny nose, cough and sneezing) to fever and rash illness to more severe respiratory illness (e.g. difficulty breathing) and neurologic illness (e.g. encephalitis – an infection of the brain – and meningitis – an infection of the lining of the brain or spinal cord). However, most people who get infected by enteroviruses will not get sick at all.

Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is a rare strain of an enterovirus which is currently circulating in the United States and Canada, including here in BC. While healthy individuals are generally able to fight off the virus, it is more serious for young children with existing respiratory conditions such as asthma. 

How many cases of EV-D68 in BC this year?
Since August 2016, the BC Centre for Disease Control  (BCCDC) Public Health Laboratory has detected 35 cases of EV-D68. Three-quarters of cases have occurred in children <10 years old and 43% in infants/toddlers <2 years old. At least 60% of cases have been hospitalized.

Should I be concerned?
The risk of severe EV-D68 infection is low for most people in BC. People with respiratory illness, especially people with a history of asthma, should contact their doctor if their symptoms get worse or they have difficulty breathing. Severe cases may need to be hospitalized and occasionally may require intensive care.

How is it spread?
EV-D68 is found in secretions of the nose, throat and airways (e.g. saliva, nasal mucus or sputum). It can spread from person-to-person when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread by having close contact (e.g. touching or shaking hands) with an infected person or by touching contaminated objects or surfaces. 

What are the symptoms?
The main symptoms are similar to those of the common cold: fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches. Some people experience difficulty breathing and/or wheezing. Children with a history of asthma or wheezing are at higher risk for severe illness due to EV-D68 infection. 

Parents, caregivers, and community members should watch for children who may be having difficulty breathing or who are wheezing and should make sure the child sees a healthcare professional immediately if they are having these symptoms.

How can I protect my family?
You can help protect yourself from respiratory illnesses by following these steps:

• Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
• 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.
• Cough or sneeze into a sleeve or tissue.
• Keep sick children home from school.
• If you are caring for a child with asthma or who has wheezing make sure they:
o Take their asthma medication as instructed by the doctor or nurse
o Keep their reliever puffer with them at all time
o In the event that symptoms worsen, especially difficulty breathing, medical care should be sought immediately.

How is Enterovirus D68 treated?
There is no specific treatment or vaccine for EV-D68. 

Most people will get better on their own without any treatment. For mild cold-like symptoms (e.g. runny nose, cough, sneezing) and fever, over-the-counter medications can help relieve symptoms. Aspirin should not be given to children. 

People with respiratory illness, especially children with a history of asthma or wheezing, should contact their doctor if their symptoms get worse or they have difficulty breathing. Severe cases may need to be hospitalized and occasionally may require intensive care.

Who can I talk to if I have questions?

Talk with your primary healthcare provider or Community Health Nurse at your Health Centre or Nursing Station.

Call 8-1-1 toll-free in BC to speak with a Registered Nurse any time, every day of the year at Health​LinkBC

Want to learn more?


For Healthcare Workers 

• For an update on EV-D68, review the current BCCDC Influenza Surveillance Bulletin.​​

 

 

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