Children & Teens With Enterovirus
Infants, young children and teens affected by enterovirus can face a 10 times greater risk of the virus developing into a serious or deadly state because of their weakened or immature natural defenses and immunity levels that adults have developed over time. For children with asthma, they may have a higher risk for EV-68 and the severe respiratory infection this virus presents.
Historically, children appear to have been impacted in larger numbers as well, suffering severe respiratory problems resulting in difficulty in breathing, swallowing and in urgent cases, requiring a ventilator machine, or even death.
In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began tracking a mysterious polio-like illness called Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), which can be caused from an enterovirus infection. The condition mimics polio but is not caused by the polio virus, primarily targeting children, causing sudden loss of control of the muscles in limbs and other parts of the body.
Enteroviruses are by far the most common causes of aseptic meningitis, a form of enterovirus, in children. In the Unites States alone, enteroviruses account for 30,000 to 50,000 meningitis hospitalizations each year. Newborns face a severe or life-threatening impact with most types of enterovirus and need immediate attention by a physician to mitigate lasting impacts.
Between August 2014 and January 2015, 120 children in 34 states were diagnosed with AFM according to federal health officials. The median patient age was 7. Several children across the country died as a result of the disease which has no medical treatment to date.
In 2016, China experienced an enterovirus 71 outbreak, the virus has been circulating at low level for more than 2 decades, infecting over 25,000 children and adults with the viral death toll of 43 known by local health officials.
If you are the parent of a child who you think may have enterovirus, please consult your doctor immediately and take all precautions to avoid spreading the virus through frequent and correct hand washing.
Below is additional information on recent enterovirus outbreaks: (Link to Washington Post, CDC and other articles)