Enterovirus D68 has hit as many as 277 people in 40 states and the District of Columbia as of September 26, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The American Red Cross has some simple steps people can follow to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Infants, children and teenagers are most likely to become ill from the virus. Enterovirus D68 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness. Mild symptoms may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches.
People experiencing difficulty breathing should see their health care provider. Those with known respiratory illnesses such as asthma are reminded to take their medications and seek care if they experience any problems.
In addition to the District of Columbia, the states with confirmed cases include Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
It is expected more states will have confirmed cases in the upcoming weeks.
HOW THE VIRUS SPREADS The virus can be found in an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum. EV-D68 likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches contaminated surfaces.
WHAT YOU CAN DO People can follow these steps to help prevent the spread of EV-D68:
GET YOUR FLU VACCINE While flu vaccinations do not prevent the Enterovirus D68, flu season is fast approaching and now is a good time to get your annual flu shot. Everyone six months of age and older should get vaccinated. Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to minimize the chances of getting the flu.
People can learn how to treat those who are ill by taking Red Cross training. Our online Family First Aid and Pediatric CPR course includes lessons on how to respond to respiratory and cardiac emergencies. Go to redcross.org/takeaclass for information and to register. Flu prevention tips are located in the free Red Cross First Aid App and at redcross.org.