Non-Polio Enteroviruses are very common viral infections that affect 10 to 15 million people in the U.S. every year, according to the CDC. Types of non-polio enteroviruses include Coxsackievirus A, Coxsackievirus B, Echoviruses, and Enterovirus D68.
Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) was first reported in 1962 in California, and has been regularly reported to the CDC since 1987. In 2014, there was an increase in reported EV-D68 cases across the U.S. especially in people with asthma or children with reactive airway disease.
Anyone can become infected with non-polio enteroviruses, but infants, children, and teenagers are more susceptible. Most people who contract an enterovirus will not become ill or will experience a mild illness, but some—especially infants and those with weakened immune symptoms, can become very sick and have infection of the brain or heart, or even become paralyzed. In the United States, enteroviruses are more prevalent in the summer and fall, but can be contracted at any time of year.
Enteroviruses are spread by close contact with an infected person. They are most commonly transmitted through small traces of fecal matter, but can also be transmitted by respiratory means. Because the viruses can live on surfaces for several days, transmission by touching an object or surface that has the virus on it and then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes is also a concern.
This particular virus is spread when a person carrying the infection:
- Touches surfaces that are later touched by others
Treatment and Prevention
There are no specific treatments or vaccines for non-polio enterovirus. However, your health care provider can address and treat your symptoms from the infection.
The best way to prevent the spread of enterovirus is to:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after visiting the restroom or changing a diaper.
- Cover your sneeze and/or cough with sleeve or tissue, rather than hands.
- Clean your hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Avoid close contact—kissing, hugging, shaking hands, sharing utensils or glasses—with people who are sick.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, especially doorknobs, remotes, and toys.
- Stay home from work or school, if ill.
Treatment and prevention for EV-D68 is the same as non-polio enterovirus.
For those experiencing a mild illness as a result of an enterovirus, symptoms may include:
- Runny nose
- Skin rash
- Mouth blisters
- Body and muscle aches
Certain enteroviruses can cause:
- Viral conjunctivitis
- Hand, foot, and mouth disease
- Viral meningitis
In extreme cases, the infection may lead to:
- Infection of the heart (myocarditis)
- Infection of the sac around the heart (pericarditis)
- Infection of the brain (encephalitis)
Severe EV-68 symptoms may also include:
- Difficulty breathing
Contact your doctor if symptoms worsen.
Where to Find Information
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)