EV68, HANDWASHING & YOU: You may have heard about a new virus strain “Enterovirus 68” or EV68 that has been infecting the midwest and moving towards the western coast. Education in prevention to reduce the risk of spreading of disease. The most obvious means of prevention is washing of hands, but it is also advised that children “don’t touch the T” - avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth. Talk with your children about handwashing, “don’t touch the T” and to hugging or sharing food (which can also be an allergy concern). We are including a link from the CDC with a Sesame Street Video (in 8 languages!) anyone can share with students and some reference materials for this particular virus as well. Set aside OCTOBER 15th to observe Global Handwashing Day with your family!
Information for parents regarding EV68
1. What is EV68? Enterovirus 68 (EV68) is not a new virus, but over the past few years it has caused outbreaks of respiratory illness in the fall. These outbreaks are similar to what we see later in the year with influenza and RSV. What's different is that these outbreaks happen earlier in the fall and with a different virus.
2. Who does this virus infect? In the current outbreak, most patients are children under 16 with a prior history of asthma or wheezing. Symptoms include rapid onset of cough, wheezing and difficulty breathing. EV68 rarely causes fever. Most children with suspected EV68 infection respond quickly to supportive care that includes breathing treatments, such as inhalers prescribed by a health care provider.
3. What should I look out for? If your child or family member develops rapid onset of cough, wheezing or difficulty breathing, please contact their healthcare provider. While most patients do not require hospitalization, children can develop symptoms rapidly, so a quick call or visit to a health care clinic might be necessary.
4. Is there an antibiotic I can take or a vaccine? No, EV68 is a virus so antibiotics do not treat it and there are no currently available antiviral medications that treat EV68. There is also no vaccine. However, that does not mean that your child can't be treated. Children with severe respiratory distress can receive several forms of breathing treatments that reduce their symptoms and get them on the road to recovery.
5. Are pregnant women at risk? Pregnant women have a greater chance of being infected if they do not have immunity (protection) from previous infection withEV68. However, most pregnant women who become infected will not get sick, or they will only have mild illness. Right now, there is no clear evidence that pregnant women with enterovirus infection will have severe complications, like miscarriage, stillbirth, or congenital defects. But, if a pregnant woman is infected shortly before delivery, she can pass the virus to her baby. These babies usually have only mild illness. In rare cases, they may have severe infection.
6. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers have limited effectiveness against enteroviruses and are not recommended for hand hygiene by healthcare personnel providing care to EV68 patients.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
-CDC Materials HANDWASHING: http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/training-education.html
-CDC Recommended Video for younger students:
The CDC is expected to issue a Health Alert this week that will provide additional information, including infection control strategies. CDC’s webpage for non-polio enteroviruses can be accessed at: http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/
NURSE’S NOTE – Brought to you by your District Nurses, Sandra Chavez, RN & Tristan Kleinknight, RN