OR WAIT null SECS
Cases and hospitalizations due to EV-D68, a rare form of enterovirus associated with acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), have been increasing among children across the country.
A health alert was issued by the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), which has been affecting children with symptoms comparable to influenza or the common cold.
An increase in pediatric hospitalizations were reported to the CDC in August, mainly consisting of children with severe respiratory illness who had been infected with rhinovirus (RV) and/or enterovirus. Further analysis revealed that EV-D68 was present in some of these cases.
Enteroviruses are not uncommon–affecting 10-15 million Americans each year. However, EV-D68 is a much rarer form of the disease.
“Concurrently, pediatric acute respiratory illness sentinel surveillance sites are reporting a higher proportion of EV-D68 positivity in children who are RV/EV positive compared to previous years,” according to the CDC statement. “Although it primarily causes acute respiratory illness, EV-D68 has been associated with acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a rare but serious neurologic complication involving limb weakness.”
The Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory was directed at pediatricians and parents with the intention of notifying healthcare providers, laboratories, infection control specialists, and public health departments of the increase in severe respiratory illness among children, and particularly the rising hospitalization rates among those with existing respiratory conditions like asthma.
Additionally, the CDC urged providers to view EV-D68 as a potential cause for pediatric patients presenting with acute, severe respiratory illness, regardless if a fever is detected. Also, heightened awareness of possible increases in acute flaccid myelitis cases must be considered.
The CDC included a set of recommendations that healthcare providers, laboratories, infection preventionists, public health departments, and the public should implement at this time. The following guidelines were published on the agency's website for healthcare providers, infection control healthcare settings, and the public.