Indiana News

Prevention Key To Slowing Spread Of Illness Enterovirus D68

BERRIEN COUNTY, Ind. (WOWO):  The Berrien County Health Department says hand washing and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces will go a long way to slow the spread Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), the virus causing respiratory illness in people across the Midwest and other parts of the United States. At this time, Michigan has no confirmed cases of EV-D68 associated with the national outbreak.

Enteroviruses are very common, and most do not cause significant disease. However, EV-D68 is a rare type that can cause difficulty breathing and mimic an asthma attack. Most people who are infected will have the symptoms of a common cold, but some may develop severe symptoms and need to seek medical attention.

As with other Enteroviruses, EV-D68 appears to spread through close contact with infected people. There is no vaccine or anti-viral medication for this infection, so Berrien County Health Department officials recommend the following to slow the spread of this virus:

Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds
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
Stay home when feeling sick and contact your health care provider

The Berrien County Health Department is working with local hospitals and health care providers, the Michigan Department of Community Health, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to confirm the presence of EV-D68 in Berrien County. Specimen samples from Berrien County children with respiratory illnesses have been sent to the CDC for confirmation of EV-D68.

Children with cold-like symptoms that are experiencing difficulty breathing are asked to consult with their family physician for further evaluation. Healthcare providers should be aware of EV-D68 as a potential cause of respiratory distress, and everyone should follow the recommended steps to help slow the spread of this new infection.

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