is a virus. Most who are infected with this virus do not get sick. Summer and Fall is when people are more likely to become infected with non-polio enteroviruses.
Non-polio enterovirus Overview
Non-polio enteroviruses are very common viruses in that they cause about 10 to 15 million infections in the United States each year.
Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is one of many non-polio enteroviruses. This virus was first identified in California in 1962, but had not been commonly reported in the United States until the Fall of 2014.
Most people who get infected with non-polio enteroviruses do not get sick. Although anyone can get infected with non-polio enteroviruses, infants, children, and teenagers are more likely to get infected and become sick. This is because they do not yet have protection from previous exposures to the viruses. This holds true for Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68).
In the United States, the seasons that people are more likely to become infected with non-polio enteroviruses are the summer and fall.
Non-polio enterovirus Symptoms
Most people who are infected with non-polio enteroviruses do not get sick, or they only have mild illness. Symptoms of mild illness may include:
- runny nose
- skin rash
- mouth blisters
- body and muscle aches
- difficulty breathing and wheezing in Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) cases (A history of asthma or a history of wheezing may play a role in experiencing this particular symptom)
Some non-polio enterovirus infections can cause
- viral conjunctivitis
- hand, foot, and mouth disease
- viral meningitis (infection of the covering of the spinal cord and/or brain)
Non-polio enterovirus Causes
Non-polio enteroviruses are very common viruses that are transmitted by being in close contact, such as touching or shaking hands, with an infected person. Transmission can also occur by touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
Non-polio enteroviruses can be found in an infected person's:
- feces (stool)
- eyes, nose, and mouth secretions (such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum)
- blister fluid
Since EV-D68 causes respiratory illness, 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.
You can also be exposed to enterovirus by:
- changing diapers of an infected person and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes
- drinking water that has the virus in it
Another thing to note is that:
- Non-polio enterovirus can be passed from a person's body into the environment in your stool for several weeks or longer after you have been infected.
- The virus can be passed from a person's body from your respiratory tract for 1 to 3 weeks or less.
- Infected people can shed the virus even if they do not have symptoms.
Non-polio enterovirus Diagnosis
Non-polio enteroviruses, like EV-D68, can be diagnosed by doing specific lab tests on certain specimens. Non-polio enteroviruses can be detected from the stool, rectal swabs, and respiratory specimens (including from the throat). Depending on the symptoms, other specimen types, such as cerebrospinal fluid, blister fluid, and blood, can be collected for testing.
In order to diagnose EV-D68, the doctor can take a specimen from a person’s nose or throat.
Some doctors can test patients to determine if they have enterovirus infection. However, most cannot determine the type of enterovirus, like EV-D68.
Respiratory illnesses can be caused by many different viruses and have similar symptoms. Not all respiratory illnesses are caused by EV-D68.
Living With Non-polio enterovirus
You can help protect yourself and others from non-polio enterovirus infections, including EV-D68, by:
- Washing your hands often with soap and water, for 20 seconds, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces
- Avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging, shaking hands, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or shirt sleeve, not your hands
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick
- Stay home when you are sick
Non-polio enterovirus Treatments
There is no specific treatment for non-polio enterovirus infection, including EV-D68.
People with mild illness caused by non-polio enterovirus infection typically only need symptom treatment. They usually recover completely. In these cases, patients can take over-the-counter medications for pain and fever. However, aspirin should not be given to children.
Some people with severe respiratory illness may need to be hospitalized.
There are no antiviral medications currently available for people who become infected with non-polio enterovirus infection, including EV-D68. In addition, there is no vaccine to protect you from non-polio enterovirus infection.
Non-polio enterovirus Prognosis
Most people who are infected with non-polio enteroviruses do not get sick, or they only have mild illness. People with mild illness typically only need symptomatic treatment, and these patients usually recover completely. However, some people may require hospitalization if the illness is severe.
Less commonly, a person may develop:
- myocarditis (infection of the heart)
- pericarditis (infection of the sac around the heart)
- encephalitis (infection of the brain)
People who develop myocarditis may have heart failure and as a result require long term care. Some people who develop encephalitis or paralysis may not fully recover.
Newborns infected with non-polio enterovirus may develop sepsis (infection of the blood and other organs) but is very rare.