Flu season is just around the corner, but there’s a different kind of virus that may have recently resurfaced in California called Enterovirus D68 (EV D-68). It targets children, and many parents are already worried.
“As a parent, what you would look for would be young child struggling to breathe, and the skin above the clavicles would sink in as they’re breathing,” Dr. Stuart Breisch said to local CBS News affiliate in San Diego. Dr. Breisch says the virus tends to hit youth between the ages of 6 months to 16 years of age.
At least three children are reportedly being tested at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego for EV D-68.
Enterovirus 68 is structurally and genetically very similar to the Human Rhinovirus 87, according to a publication in the US National Library of Medicine. Human Rhinovirus is the scientific term for the viral agents that cause the common cold.
Aside from the general symptoms associated with the virus, which are similar to those found in a common cold (coughing, sneezing, slight body aches, and a fever), the rest of the symptoms are indistinguishable.
Children who have asthma and those with a weakened immune system are more susceptible to contracting the virus and could end up in the hospital for several days.
Doctors are predicting the situation will probably get worse before it gets better and are saying the virus will most likely stick around until the weather changes in California in or around October, notes CBS.
In the meantime, infectious disease specialist Dr. Alice Pong recommends the following, according to CBS 8: “Don’t go to school if you’re sick. Keep your children home if they’re ill.”
There have so far been more than 80 confirmed cases of Enterovirus D68 in six states, with seven other states waiting to hear back from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) if the samples they sent in for testing are positive for the virus, notes CBS.
Enterovirus D68 was first identified in California in 1962. There is no specific treatment recommended, nor is there a vaccine for EV D-68 according to the CDC.