Finally in the news this week is a look at the enterovirus D68 that’s running rampant across large parts of the country right now, causing special problems for kids with respiratory problems. Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is one of many non-polio enteroviruses. This virus was first identified in California in 1962, but it has not been commonly reported in the United States.
Enterovirus D-68 Spreading Fast
The recent outbreak has some experts concerned, especially for our younger patients with a history of respiratory illnesses like asthma. The virus can be found in an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum. EV-D68 likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches contaminated surfaces.
At the present time, there are confirmed cases of EV-D68 in 22 states but the CDC cautions that there are no reporting requirements for this illness in most places so there are likely thousands who have been ill with this virus, even a mild case and were unaware that it was this illness.
Palliative Care for EV-D68 Patients
The treatment for these patients is large palliative. Treat the symptoms, administer oxygen or nebulizer treatments as needed. Be aggressive in getting a good medical history if you can so you can identify those patients particularly at risk and in need of potential hospitalization. These include very young children and infants, as well as those kids with a history of asthma, wheezing or other respiratory illness.
Talk to your local supervisors or the ER staff about what they’ve seen coming in to the ER recently. It’s likely you’ll start seeing the same numbers if you haven’t already. Work with your agency and local public health officials to accurately document the patients who may have this illness to identify clusters in your region.
This is a viral illness and most will suffer mild, cold-like symptoms. Still you should be knowledgeable and aware. Follow the link here in the show notes to the CDC page on EVD68 to get regular updates on the illness and track its progress across the country.
Followup on the links to this news item and all the other articles and resources in this week’s episode show notes – Getting a Handle on Severe Bleeding (Part 1) and Episode 404.