Infectious diseases don’t observe political borders, and in this 21st century, can spread quickly around the globe. The recent outbreak of EV-D68 which has been detected in at least a dozen US states has now apparently crossed into Canada (see Three B.C. enterovirus cases now confirmed, authorities say & Alberta Health Services confirms 18 cases of Enterovirus D68 ).
Respiratory cases in other Canadian cities are being tested.
While only a small percentage of those infected are made ill enough to require hospitalization, as yesterday’s COCA Call (see Enterovirus D68 in the United States: Epidemiology, Diagnosis & Treatment) well illustrated, local Emergency rooms and Children’s hospitals can quickly be overwhelmed by the sudden influx of patients.
Further spread across North America is likely and with our highly mobile society additional international spread cannot be ruled out, and so today the World Health Organization has published the following Global Alert & Response update on the US EV-D68 situation.
Disease outbreak news
17 September 2014
On 10 September 2014, the United States of America informed the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) about an outbreak of severe respiratory illness associated with Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). As of 16 September 2014, 130 laboratory-confirmed cases of EV-D68 have been reported in 12 US states – Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. Investigations into suspected clusters in many other states are ongoing.
EV-D68 is identified using molecular techniques at a limited number of laboratories in the USA. Enterovirus infections, including EV-D68, are not nationally notifiable, but laboratory detections of enterovirus and parechovirus types are reported voluntarily to the National Enterovirus Surveillance System, which is managed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Currently, there are no available vaccines or specific treatments for EV-D68 and clinical care is supportive. Symptoms of EV-D68 may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches. Individuals with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma or other respiratory diseases, may be especially prone to severe infections from EV-D68 and may experience difficulty breathing or have wheezing.