As I’m sure you’ve heard, there’s a new virus in town. It’s name is EV–D68! The news and media have been reporting a lot about this "new" enterovirus. It can cause quite severe respiratory disease. This virus isn’t new though. It has been known about since 1962 and the CDC has been tracking it since 2008. It has been watched in Asia, in Europe and in the United States since 2008. It seems to cause the most severe disease in children. This will show itself as breathing difficulty. Some of the children are wheezing. All of the children with bad problems are having trouble breathing.
We have no idea how many people have been infected with this virus. It isn’t even regularly tracked by any organization. We do know that children in Missouri and Illinois did get sick enough to go to the hospital and some went to the intensive care units. I spoke to a Children’s Hospital doctor recently who told me that testing in the children with breathing problems coming to the emergency department had shown that up to 60% were showing positive tests for EV-D68. Most of these children were sent home because the disease was mild and there was not breathing difficulty. Some were admitted and needed oxygen for a short period. None of these children or the children in Illinois and Missouri died and their stay in the hospital was less than a week in most cases.
The health departments will continue to track this virus and the nature of the illness that it causes. As long as you are taking care of your child and they are not having any difficulty breathing or dehydrated, even if your child is infected with EV–D68, you will NOT need to seek the help of a healthcare provider. There are a lot of viruses going around right now. Which virus is causing your child to be ill is much less important than whether your child is having trouble with breathing or drinking. Also remember, fever is not normal if it goes on more than five days in a row. Use common sense and please call us with your questions and concerns.