Respiratory illness by EV-D68 which was first detected in the Midwest has now spread to 38 states and medical fraternity is still baffled by the sudden virulent resurgence.
CDC is talking about 226 cases of infection with Enterovirus 68 but the real numbers could be much higher. Enterovirus D68 happens to be one of the 100 non-polio enteroviruses which causes mild to severe respiratory illness. The symptoms could include fever, sneezing, runny nose, cough, and body and muscle aches. Severe symptoms could include wheezing and difficulty in breathing. The infection has since reached Ohio and continues to spread.
Thankfully there has been no fatality associated with infections but one adult case has been involved.
Dr. Mary Anne Jackson is the division director of infectious diseases at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. It was this hospital which first alerted the agency about the unusually high number of children with breathing problems coming to the OPD. Dr Jackson is being sought for guidance from colleagues across the nation. Dr Jackson has termed the CDC report as just the tip of the iceberg.
In the past Month University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital were forced to divert the ambulances to other hospitals because the rooms were filled with children below 5 years with severe respiratory illness. There has been no instance when the hospital had to divert its ambulances in the past 10 years said Dr Daniel Johnson, interim section chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the hospital.
Enteroviruses are the common causes of respiratory ailment but this is different, the current outbreak comes with bad cold, including body aches and cough. However what have baffled the Doctors is the wheezing and breathing difficulties which are experienced by some of the children.
Rafal Tokarz, an associate research scientist at Columbia University who has studied the virus said, “Parents would love to know why this virus is causing severe disease and why there are more cases. But we won’t be able to answer that until a lot more research is done.”
3,600 children have been treated at emergency and urgent-care facilities at Children’s Hospital Colorado in between August 18 and September 24. Of these a majority were sent back home but 10% were hospitalized since they required constant breathing treatment, supplemental oxygen, or even to be placed on a ventilator in the intensive-care unit.
Experts said children should rest at home if they had run-of-the-mill cold symptoms like a runny nose, cough and body aches, but were hydrated, eating and breathing comfortably.