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Enterovirus D68 (EV 68) is one of many enteroviruses, a large group of over 100 viruses that can cause respiratory illness, diarrhea, rash and even meningitis and encephalitis. This particular virus was first identified in California in 1962. It has been circulating worldwide for several years, causing mild to severe respiratory illness.
EV 68 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness.
Since EV 68 causes respiratory illness, the virus can be found in an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum. EV 68 likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes or touches surfaces contaminated with virus.
In general, infants, children, and teenagers are most likely to get infected with enteroviruses. That's because they do not yet have immunity (protection) from previous exposures to these viruses. This appears to be true for EV 68. Among the EV 68 cases in identified during August and September 2014, children with asthma had a higher risk for severe respiratory illness.
No. There is no vaccine.
EV 68 can only be diagnosed by doing specific lab tests.
Respiratory illnesses can be caused by many different viruses and have similar symptoms. Not all respiratory illnesses occurring now are due to EV 68. Anyone with respiratory illness should contact their doctor, if they are having difficulty breathing, or if their symptoms are getting worse.
You can help protect yourself from respiratory illnesses by following these steps:
Since people with asthma are higher risk for respiratory illnesses, they should take medicines for asthma prescribed for them and maintain control of their asthma. They should seek care early if they are experiencing respiratory symptoms. In addition, they should take advantage of influenza vaccine since people with asthma have a difficult time with respiratory illnesses, and influenza is preventable.
In general, children who are ill should be kept out of school until their symptoms improve.
For children with chronic cough and/or reactive airway disease, children should return to school when they are clinically well enough to return.