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Cases of Enterovirus D68 confirmed in North Carolina

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has recently confirmed the presence of Enterovirus D68 in specimens obtained from several patients located in different parts of North Carolina.

Enteroviruses are very common viruses.  This particular enterovirus (EV-D68) was first isolated in 1962.  The symptoms of EV-D68 are associated almost exclusively with respiratory illness, which can range from mild to severe.

There is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infections.  Many infections are mild and self-limited, requiring only symptomatic treatment.  Patients with asthma or other underlying respiratory conditions are at risk for more severe illness.  All asthma patients should have an asthma action plan.  Health care providers should reinforce the use of this plan, including the importance of taking prescribed daily asthma medications properly.  People with asthma who are experiencing symptoms should seek healthcare early.

To help reduce the risk of infection with EV-D68 and other respiratory viruses, the following precautions are recommended:

1. Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers;

2. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;

3. Avoid kissing, hugging and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick;

4. Disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick;

5. Stay home when sick.

For more information, visit the CDC website on Enterovirus D68.

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