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First Confirmed Case of Enterovirus D68 in Massachusetts

September 23, 2014

State health officials announced today the first confirmed case of enterovirus D68 in Massachusetts. The patient is a school-aged child with a history of asthma who became ill in early September.  The child has since been treated and released from a local hospital.

This virus is acting like a common cold virus that can trigger asthma. EV-D68 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. Children with asthma and other respiratory illnesses are at 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.
  • Cleaning and 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.

There is no specific treatment for people with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. Aspirin should not be given to children.

As of Sept. 22, a total of 175 people in 27 states were confirmed to have respiratory illness caused by EV-D68.

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

MEDIA CONTACT

Suzy Feinberg, MPH
Public Information Officer
617-665-3833
sfeinberg@challiance.org


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