Enterovirus-D68 (EV-D68) is one of many non-polio enteroviruses. Non-polio enteroviruses are very common viruses. They cause about 10 to 15 million infections in the United States each year. Anyone can get infected with non-polio enteroviruses. But infants, children, and teenagers are more likely to get infected and become sick. That's because they do not yet have immunity (protection) from previous exposures to the viruses.
Most people who get infected with non-polio enteroviruses do not get sick. Or, they may have mild illness, like the common cold. But some people can get very sick and have infection of their heart or brain or even become paralyzed. Infants and people with weakened immune systems have a greater chance of having these complications.
In the United States, people are more likely to get infected with non-polio enteroviruses in the summer and fall.
Most people who are infected with non-polio enteroviruses do not get sick, or they only have mild illness. Symptoms of mild illness may include:
- runny nose
- skin rash
- mouth blisters
- body and muscle aches
Some non-polio enterovirus infections can cause:
- viral conjunctivitis
- hand, foot, and mouth disease
- viral meningitis (infection of the covering of the spinal cord and/or brain)
Less commonly, a person may develop:
- myocarditis (infection of the heart)
- pericarditis (infection of the sac around the heart)
- encephalitis (infection of the brain)
You can get exposed to the virus by:
- having close contact, such as touching or shaking hands, with an infected person
- touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them
- changing diapers of an infected person
- drinking water that has the virus in it
Pregnant women who are infected with non-polio enterovirus shortly before delivery can pass the virus to their babies. Mothers who are breastfeeding should talk with their doctor if they are sick or think they may have an infection.
There is no vaccine to protect you from non-polio enterovirus infection.
Ways to protect yourself and others from non-polio enterovirus infections:
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers.
- Wash your hands before touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Use your elbow to shield your cough or sneeze.
- Don't share personal items, such as toothbrushes, drinking glasses, eating utensils or towels.
- Avoid close contact, such as hugging or shaking hands, with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
There is no specific treatment for non-polio enterovirus infection. People with mild illness caused by non-polio enterovirus infection typically only need symptom treatment. They usually recover completely. However, some illnesses caused by non-polio enteroviruses can be severe enough to require hospitalization.
If you are concerned about your symptoms, you should contact your health care provider.