It has been less than a month since we saw the Kansas City Outbreak Identified As HEV 68, and since that time this emerging enterovirus has continue to spread across the nation, and has sparked a CDC HAN Advisory On EV-D68, a CDC COCA Call, and an early release MMWR Severe Respiratory Illness Associated With Enterovirus D68.
While most people who contract this virus will endure only mild to moderate `flu-like’ symptoms, some percentage (particularly kids) have experienced severe respiratory illness, in some cases requiring hospitalization.
The full burden and extent of this outbreak – and the spectrum of disease it is causing – isn’t well established, but this virus appears to have infected tens of thousands across much of the nation since last month.
While kids are the ones being predominantly hospitalized and tested, anecdotal reports suggests adults are not immune.
The CDC maintains a Non-Polio Enterovirus D68 webpage and FAQ, and last night updated their tally of states with positive test results. If your state isn’t listed, that doesn’t mean your area hasn’t seen cases, only that no samples submitted to state and CDC labs have come back positive yet.
From mid-August to September 22, 2014, a total of 175 people from 27 states were confirmed to have respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. The 27 states are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and West 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 infections.
Nowis 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.