Concerns about the Entrovirus-D68

For parents, students and staff concerned about the Entrovirus-D68, here is an article shared with us by the Kent County Health Department:

What Parents and Schools Need to Know about Enterovirus D68 Enteroviruses are very common viruses. There are more than 100 types and each year it is estimated that over 10 million enterovirus infections occur in the United States and tens of thousands of people are hospitalized for illnesses caused by these viruses. People are more likely to get infected with enteroviruses in the summer and fall. A mix of enteroviruses cause infections every year and different types of enteroviruses can be common in different years. This year, enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) appears to be the most common type of enterovirus, and this virus is likely contributing to an increase in severe respiratory illness in children across the United States.

Recent news reports documenting severe illness in children leading to neurological illness and stories of EV-D68 being detected in patients who have died has understandably caused great concern for parents in our school district. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is always the best source for information on EV-D68 and parents are encouraged to visit http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/outbreaks/EV-D68-outbreaks.html for the most recent updates on the current situation.

It is difficult to know the number of individuals diagnosed with EV-D68 in Kent County because testing for EV-D68 is not routinely done. Despite this, information on patients presenting to hospital emergency departments with respiratory complaints provides a clue as to EV-D68 activity in the local community.

These data indicate that the highest level of respiratory illness activity in Kent County occurred during the week ending September 13, 2014 and this activity has since declined to levels slightly above what is typically expected at this time of year.

While enterovirus infections typically decline in late fall, students in the school setting are always at risk for respiratory infection from a variety of viruses (rhinovirus, influenza, etc.). Because of this, basic infection prevention measures should be stressed in the school environment. Preventing respiratory infection in children with a history of asthma or wheezing is especially important since they are more susceptible to serious illness. If your child is sick with respiratory illness and they are having difficulty breathing or their symptoms are getting worse, contact your child’s physician or visit the emergency

Tips for Preventing Infection

• Wash hands with soap and water,

• Avoid close contact with sick people

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands

• Keep children home from school until they are fever free for 24 hours without medications

• Disinfect frequently touched surfaces

• Encourage children to “cover” coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve

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About David Britten

Retired U.S. Army Officer, former elementary, middle and high school principal, currently serving as a public school superintendent.
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