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Health Advisory: Respiratory Illness due to Enterovirus D68

September 22, 2014

A number of states are reporting an unusually high number of children with severe respiratory illness caused by enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). To date, no cases have been confirmed in Massachusetts.

This virus appears to be spread through close contact with infected people, most likely when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or when an uninfected person touches contaminated surfaces.

In general, babies, children, and teenagers are at increased risk for enteroviruses because they lack immunity (protection) from previous exposures to these viruses.  The CDC believes this is also true for EV-D68.

Among the EV-D68 cases in Missouri and Illinois, children with asthma seemed to have a higher risk for severe respiratory illness.

People can protect themselves and their loved ones by:
  • Washing hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are less effective against enteroviruses.
  • Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoiding kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
  • Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
  • Parents of children with asthma should make sure the child’s caregivers and teachers are aware of the child’s condition, and know how to help if the child experiences any symptoms related to asthma.

For more information, visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/about/EV-D68.html.


Suzy Feinberg, MPH
Public Information Officer

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