“Enterovirus” May Spread To Onondaga County "Enterovirus" May Spread To Onondaga County

Enterovirus D-68 has had a spike in confirmed cases across the country.

Anchor: The flu isn’t the only illness spreading this time of year. As N-C-C’s Daniel Loftus reports, there’s another virus to keep an eye out for.

Daniel Loftus: It’s called Enterovirus D-68, or E-V-D-68 for short. And the New York State Department of Health has confirmed 39 cases of the mild to severe respiratory illness in children throughout the state. Onondaga County Health Department Medical Director Doctor Quoc Nguyen says it is likely E-V-D-68 makes its way to this county.

Dr. Quoc Nguyen: I hope not, but I would not be surprised at all.

Loftus: Even with recent outbreaks of the illness, like in 2014, Dr. Nguyen says hundereds could actually get the enterovirus, but very few would actually experience symptoms. Dr. Nguyen also says improvements in the diagnosis could be responsible for the recent spike in confirmed cases.

Dr. Nguyen: We are more attuned to it and we can diagnose it more readily.

Loftus: Since there is no specific treatment for E-V-D-68, Doctor Nguyen says prevention tips are similar to those for the flu — regular hand washing and avoiding those who are sick. Live in studio, Daniel Loftus, N-C-C News.

By Daniel Loftus SYRACUSE, N.Y.  (NCC News) — Enterovirus D-68 (or EV-D68), a virus which causes a respiratory illness that can become mild to severe, has been diagnosed in 39 children around Upstate New York, according to the New York State Department of Health.

To date, there are no confirmed cases of the virus in Onondaga County. Concerns over whether EV-D68 were addressed by Dr. Quoc Nguyen, the Onondaga County Health Department Medical Director.

“I hope not, but I would not be surprised at all,” said Dr. Nguyen.

This is not the first time in recent history that this type of enterovirus has shown up in high numbers around the United States. In 2014 there were a confirmed 1,153 people with the respiratory virus caused by EV-D68 in 49 states and the District of Columbia, according to the CDC.

Although the polio virus and Enterovirus belong to the same “family” of viruses, Dr. Nguyen said the idea that the recent outbreaks  of EV-D68 are a result of it filling a void left behind by polio is not likely. Dr. Nguyen said improvements in the molecular diagnostics could be the reasoning behind the jump in confirmed cases.

Graph with the number 39 circled
39 is the number of confirmed cases of EV-D68 in New York, according to the New York Department of Health
© 2018 Daniel Loftus

“We are more attunded to it and we can diagnose it more readily,” said Dr. Nguyen.

Dr. Nguyen said that the people who experience the symptoms associated with EV-D68, things such as runny nose, sneezing, cough, body aches, are only a small portion of those who actually get the virus, so most cases go undocumented and are not severe.

“The cases that are symptomatic… are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg,” said Dr. Nguyen.

The Onondaga County Health Department recently sent out a health advisory so health care providers have more information on how to treat and identify EV-D68.

There is no vaccine for the Enterovirus D-68. Dr Nguyen provided some tips for avoiding it:

  • Keep ones hands away from ones face
  • Don’t share eating/drinking utensils
  • Avoid those who are sick
  • Wash hands freqently
  • Those with asthma should take extra care and seek care if they begin to feel ill.


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