NOTE TO OUR READERS
The Oklahoma State Department of Health, or OSDH, has confirmed through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that enterovirus D68, or EV-D68, is causing respiratory illness in Oklahoma.
While this type of virus is a common cause of respiratory illness, this specific type is relatively new in the U.S. Oklahoma is one of 12 states with confirmed cases of EV-D68. The CDC reported seven of 24 speciments from Oklahoma hospitals tested positive for the virus. The spread has been associated with an increase in pediatric hospital admissions in central Oklahoma. While symptoms appear similar to the common cold, the illness can rapidly progress to something more serious if children begin to experience wheezing, difficulty breathing, and difficulty getting enough oxygen into their lungs.
“Children less than 5 years old and children with underlying asthma appear to be at greatest risk of having medical complications from EV-D68 requiring hospitalization,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley. “If a child develops a cold or a cough, parents and caregivers should just watch the child a little more closely to ensure the respiratory infection is running a normal course. If wheezing or asthma-like symptoms develop, medical care should be accessed immediately.”
There are no specific treatments or vaccines to prevent EV-D68 infections. However, there are steps your family can take to decrease your chance of illness.
People can protect themselves from respiratory illnesses by:
· Washing hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
· Avoiding touching the eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
· Avoiding close contact and sharing cups and eating utensils with people who are sick.
· Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces such as toys, doorknobs and light switches, especially if someone is sick.
· Staying home when sick.
Find more information about enteroviruses here.