Common Respiratory Virus Raises Concerns


State health leaders are monitoring reports of a severe respiratory virus blamed for making children in 10 states ill. Enterovirus symptoms are similar to those of a mild cold. They include upper respiratory problems, a low-grade fever, cough, runny nose and body aches.

State epidemiologist Pam Pontones says people with weakened immune systems or medical conditions like asthma may experience more severe symptoms and need to be hospitalized. These include wheezing, shortness of breath and difficulty speaking. Pontones recommends contacting a physician or other health care provider right away if cold symptoms become that severe.

No Enterovirus D-68 cases have been confirmed in Indiana. Pontones says the state is working with local health departments and providers to monitor cases. She notes it’s not treatable with medication, and antibiotics are not an effective course of treatment because it is a virus. Likewise no vaccine is available to guard against the disease. 

Pontones says good hygiene is the best way to keep from getting sick. This includes washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, disinfecting common areas, not sharing cups or utensils and staying home from work or school if you are sick. Click here  EV-D68 Quick Facts 2014 for more information.