Late Summer Virus Causing Illness in Iowa

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The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced on September 8 that a virus that has caused outbreaks in Illinois, Ohio, Kansas and other states is also causing illness in Iowa. Enterovirus EV-D68, like other enteroviruses, appears to spread through close contact with infected people. Enteroviruses, including EV-D68, are not a reportable disease in Iowa or the U.S.; therefore, the number of cases of the virus is not tracked.

EV-D68 often begins like a cold and symptoms include coughing and wheezing; most people will recover at home without complications however, some people with severe respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 may need to be hospitalized and receive intensive supportive therapy. Infants, children, and teenagers, especially those with a history of asthma or those who have a condition that compromises their immune system, are most likely to become severely ill. Parents of children with cold-like symptoms that experience difficulty breathing should contact their health care provider.

There are currently no medications available for treatment for EV-D68 infections and there is no vaccine available for the virus. Most infections resolve on their own and require only treatment at home: 

  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Rest.
  • Stay home so you do not spread the virus to others.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces to stop the spread the spread of the virus at home.

To help reduce the risk of getting infected with EV-D68: 

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

Enteroviruses are very common viruses; there are more than 100 types. It is estimated that 10 to 15 million enterovirus infections occur in the United States each year, usually in the summer and fall.

(Information provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health.)