Local News

Three at UNC Hospitals being treated for Enterovirus D68

Posted September 26, 2014

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Three patients at UNC Hospitals are being treated for Enterovirus D68, or EV-D68, a spokesman there said Friday.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services had documented six cases of the virus earlier in the week. The specimens that tested positive for EV-D68 were obtained from children ages 10 and under with respiratory illnesses.

DHHS declined to release specific information about the children, including their county of residence or hospital, in order to protect their identities.

Enteroviruses are common viruses that can cause a range of symptoms, including runny nose, coughing, mouth sores, fever and body aches. Some patients also develop wheezing and difficulty breathing.

DHHS says there are more than 100 types of enteroviruses and 10 to 15 million infections across the U.S. each year.

"The confirmed cases were located in different parts of the state, so it is important for everyone to take necessary actions to protect yourself from EV-D68 and other respiratory viruses. There are no vaccines and no specific treatments for EV-D68, so prevention is the best option," Dr. Zack Moore, a pediatrician and epidemiologist with the Division of Public Health, said in a statement.

"Enterovirus infections are not generally life-threatening but can sometimes be severe, especially for children with asthma or other underlying respiratory conditions," he added. "If you or your child experience cold-like symptoms and difficulty breathing, contact your health care provider right away."

Enteroviruses are transmitted through close contact with an infected person or by touching objects or surfaces that are contaminated with the virus and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes. Health officials are recommending that people take the following actions to protect themselves from infection:

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

Since people with asthma are higher risk for respiratory illnesses, health officials are reminding everyone with asthma to take their medications as prescribed and make sure their asthma is under good control. Health officials are also recommending getting a flu vaccine as soon as possible to help prevent another important cause of respiratory illness that could be going around at the same time.

Since mid-August, EV-D68 has been linked to clusters of respiratory illness in 27 other states, including some illnesses that have been severe.

3 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Danny22 Sep 26, 2014

    I have never seen our DHHS withhold so much information from the public before. We are used to being protected.

  • Big Mike Sep 26, 2014

    Why the fancy name to get everyone in a panic..why not call it a bad dose of kid flu and leave it at that?

  • Maurice Pentico Jr. Sep 26, 2014
    user avatar

    Sure hope DHHS is more forthcoming with location information when ebola hits. Not sure "protecting" identities will be of that much concern. We deserve to know where these infected kids have been..... so we can be more diligent.