The South Dakota Department of Health recently sent suspected cases of the enterovirus EV-D68 to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for testing. The cases come from 14 individuals across the state ranging in age from two weeks old to 19-years-old.
There are more than 100 different types of enteroviruses that cause between 10 to 15 million infections every year, however, the EV-D68 strain is less commonly reported. The state has sent these suspected cases to the CDC because neighboring states have reported cases in this current outbreak. Hospitals and state health labs do have the ability to test for enteroviruses, but most of them do not have the specialized testing to distinguish the individual strains.
Most people infected have no symptoms to mild symptoms, but the infections can be serious for infants, children and teenagers.
Currently there is no specific anti-viral medication nor vaccine available for the EV-D68 strain.
People can protect themselves by avoiding close contact with sick people, disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, and washing hands often with soap and water. Hand sanitizers are only minimally effective against enteroviruses.
More information about the EV-D68 strain and other enteroviruses can be found on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus.