Over the past two days four more states have confirmed cases of EV-D68 – a respiratory virus that has recently begun to spread widely in the United States. In yesterday’s update - WHO GAR Notice On Enterovirus D68 – we also looked at confirmed and suspected cases in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.
While only a small percentage of those infected are made ill enough to require hospitalization, this virus has sent thousands of kids to clinics and hospital emergency rooms over the past month (see CDC EV-D68 Update & FAQ).
Given the rapid spread of this virus, it seems likely that it if it isn’t already in your state, it will be soon. So now is the time to take special care to observe good `flu hygiene’; wash your hands often, cover coughs and sneezes, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, and stay home if you are sick.
From mid-August to September 18, 2014, a total of 153 people from 18 states were confirmed to have respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. The 18 states are Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The cases of EV-D68 infection were confirmed by the CDC or state public health laboratories that notified CDC.
In the upcoming weeks, more states will have confirmed cases of EV-D68 infection.
- The primary reason for increases in cases is that several states are investigating clusters of people with severe respiratory illness, and specimens are still being tested for EV-D68. It can take a while to test specimens and obtain lab results. That’s because the testing is complex and slower, and can only be done by CDC and a small number of state public health laboratories. As the backlog of specimens is processed, the number of states and confirmed cases will likely increase. These increases will not necessarily reflect changes in real time, or mean that the situation is getting worse.
- Some of the increase will be from new EV-D68 infections since people are more likely to get infected with enteroviruses in the summer and fall. We are currently in the middle of the enterovirus season.
As investigations progress, we will have a better understanding of the trends for EV-D68