According to doctors in Israel, two children have been infected with the D68 virus, a dangerous virus that has been detected in the United States and Canada and now found in Israel for the first time. The virus attacks the respiratory system of the victim. The children, both under 10, were hospitalized in Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Hospital. One was sent home and the second in a hospital due to an underlying illness.
While the virus was discovered in the 1960s, it has recently become active and reportedly infected over 1,000 people in the United States and other countries. Most of the victims seem to be children. Seventy of the victims have been paralyzed and there are 12 fatalities reported. Children with chronic respiratory illness such as asthma appear to be at increased risk.
According to the Center of Disease Control (CEDC) in the US, symptoms of EV-D68 include;
· Mild symptoms may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches.
· Severe symptoms may include wheezing and difficulty breathing.
· Anyone with respiratory illness should contact their doctor if they are having difficulty breathing or if their symptoms are getting worse.
The US agency adds that in America, more people are infected in the summer and fall seasons.
The CDC website adds:
How is it diagnosed?
EV-D68 can only be diagnosed by doing specific lab tests on specimens from a person’s nose and throat.
Many hospitals and some doctor’s offices can test ill patients to see if they have enterovirus infection. However, most cannot do specific testing to determine the type of enterovirus, like EV-D68. CDC and some state health departments can do this sort of testing.
CDC developed, and started using on October 14, a new, faster lab test for detecting EV-D68. We are now testing and reporting results for new specimens within a few days of receiving them. Read more about what CDC is doing about EV-D68 in 2014.
CDC recommends that clinicians only consider EV-D68 testing for patients with severe respiratory illness and when the cause is unclear.
What are the treatments?
There is no specific treatment for people with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. Talk to your child’s doctor about the best way to control his or her symptoms.
Some people with severe respiratory illness may need to be hospitalized.
There are no antiviral medications currently available for people who become infected with EV-D68.
Keep your child from getting and spreading Enterovirus D68
How can I protect myself?
You can help prevent yourself from getting and spreading EV-D68 and other respiratory illnesses by following these steps:
· Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
· Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
· Avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
· Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or shirt sleeve, not your hands.
· Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
· Stay home when you are sick.
There are no vaccines for preventing EV-D68 infections.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)