First case of EV-D68 virus is reported at Unionville High School
By John Chambless
On Sept. 17, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District confirmed its first case of a Unionville High School student with the EV-D68 virus, sparking a warning on the district's website and increased efforts to stop the spread of the virus in all district schools.
The Chester County Health Department has posted online a list of precautions to help fight the virus, which has caused severe respiratory illnesses among some younger children in the Midwest.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from mid-August to Sept.17, 140 people in 16 states were confirmed to have respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. The 16 states are Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
The CDC expects that in the upcoming weeks, more states will have confirmed cases of EV-D68 infection. Several states are investigating clusters of people with severe respiratory illness, and specimens are still being tested for EV-D68. Any increases will not necessarily reflect changes in real time, or mean that the situation is getting worse.
EV-D68 is a common virus which typically causes mild respiratory illness. Symptoms include cough, runny nose, sore throat and sometimes fever. The virus usually affects children ages six weeks to 16 years old. Children who have a history of wheezing or asthma are at higher risk for hospitalization, pneumonia, and other complications.
The virus is spread from person to person by droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Less often, a person might become infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.
So far, there is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infections. Many infections will be mild and self limiting. Some people with severe respiratory illness may need to be hospitalized. There have been reports that medications used to treat asthma symptoms have been helpful in relieving symptoms of EV-D68.
The county health department recommends washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers; aboiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; avoiding sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick; disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick; and keeping students home from school if they are sick.
More information is available at www.cdc.gov.
To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, e-mail email@example.com.