The Enterovirus 68 which has hit 45 states is spreading like a wild fire in U.S causing a rare respiratory illness resulting in a serious epidemic. The virus has affected infants and young children and is very similar to rhino virus. The disease starts with symptoms mimicking cold however later wheezing develops. With the passage of time severe difficulty in breathing occurs worsening the symptoms. Nevertheless, in few cases temporary paralysis has also been reported.
Considering the number of case admitted in U.S hospitals with this respiratory illness. There are certain things that should be known regarding this outbreak.
- CDC trying to discover the connection between Enterovirus and paralysis.
The Centre for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) is engaged in investigating the association between the respiratory illness caused by EV -68 and paralysis after nine cases in Colorado were reported with neurological symptoms after contracting a respiratory virus. The patients were all 18 years old or younger. Out of these 9 victims, four are tested positive for EV 68.
In this regard,Dr. Larry Wolk, the chief medical officer and executive director for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment told that the illness may involve weakness of an arm or leg that can sometimes progress to paralysis. He explained the reason as the lesions produced by the virus in the grey matter of spinal cord; the lesions are however spotted on MRI scans.
- The virus has shown outbreaks in U.S before 2014.
According to a report submitted by CDC in 2011, Georgia and Pennsylvania had reported masses of victims infected with Enterovirus 68 in 2009. The same report suggests a few cases of this respiratory illness in Arizona in August and September 2010.
- The reason behind its re-emergence is not yet known.
Although, not the first epidemic, the health professionals are still confused how it re-emerged again.
The virus has shown outbreaks in summer seasons. That is the peak time when school begins and kids come back to school. However the virus is rare and yet no one knows how the outbreak started this year.
- It is in no one intellect that how this virus spreads.
Very few researches are done on the virus therefore little is known about its spread. However most of the respiratory viruses are transmitted through contact with infected person’s nasal secretions or saliva. The Department of Health and Senior Services in Missouri advised washing hands and recommended staying aloof from the sick individuals and sanitizing the services frequently touched by the ill patient.
- No definite treatment exists to target EV 68.
There is no specific treatment for this respiratory illness as stated by The Department of Health and Senior Services in Missouri. Neither any sort of medication targets EV 68 nor is any vaccine available to prevent the infection. However, the best way to manage such cases is to provide them symptomatic treatment. However, the treatments exist to improve respiration, difficulty in breathing and avoid wheezing sound.
Asthmatic individuals are more vulnerable and children are most commonly affected, Dr. Raju Meyappan, a pediatric critical care physician at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver shared his experience of seeing asthmatic sufferers with respiratory tubes admitting in I.C.U after contracting the virus. He further stressed on the need of intubation for such asthmatic individuals.
Children are most commonly affected than adults, in accordance with a CDC report released earlier in September. The victims are of ages 6 weeks to 16 years, with major occurrence in children ages 4 and 5.