Enterovirus (Non-Polio Enterovirus Infection)

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

EV-D68 Symptoms and Signs

Enteroviruses can also cause flu-like symptoms, rash, or in rare cases, inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) or brain (encephalitis). Serious complications are more common in infants and those with weakened immune systems. These viruses are also known causes of viral (sometimes called "aseptic") meningitis.

Read about enterovirus D68
(EV-D68) transmission and prevention

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Quick GuideEnterovirus D68 (EV-D68): Symptoms and Treatment

Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68): Symptoms and Treatment

Enterovirus facts

  • Enteroviruses are small RNA viruses that can cause illnesses such as colds, meningitis, hand, foot and mouth disease, hypoxia (decreased blood oxygen levels), hemorrhagic conjunctivitis, myopericarditis, rashes, herpangina, pleurodynia, respiratory infections, and infrequently, paralysis.
  • There have been several outbreaks of enterovirus infections; an outbreak in August 2014 occurred due to the strain named enterovirus D68, or EV-D68, an enterovirus that causes more severe symptoms of respiratory problems, mainly in children (infants and toddlers), than had been seen previously.
  • Symptoms and signs of enterovirus infection include flu-like symptoms (such as fever, cough, body aches and/or muscle aches, runny nose, and sneezing) that may become more severe and include difficulty breathing and/or wheezing.
  • Enteroviruses cause various infections most often in children; risk factors include association with infected individuals, immune system problems, pregnancy, and respiratory problems with risk increased during the summer and early fall months.
  • Enteroviruses are contagious from person to person by direct and indirect contact.
  • The incubation period for an enterovirus infection is about three to 10 days, and symptoms last about a week in uncomplicated infections.
  • The contagious period for an enterovirus infection starts about three days after infection and remains for about 10 days after symptoms develop; people can shed infectious viruses without having symptoms.
  • Enterovirus infections are diagnosed by clinical features and, less frequently, by PCR tests or culturing the enterovirus from individual's blood, cerebrospinal fluid, or other bodily fluids.
  • The treatment for enterovirus infections is mainly supportive and designed to reduce the symptoms caused by the various enterovirus types.
  • Most patients are treated by supportive care and/or their primary-care physician; patients with complications may require consultation with infectious-disease specialists, critical-care specialists, cardiologists, and/or lung specialists.
  • Most individuals with enterovirus infections have no complications; however, more severe infections can lead to hypoxia, meningitis, eye problems, heart involvement (myopericarditis), and rarely paralysis and/or muscle weakness.
  • In most cases, the prognosis (outcomes) of enterovirus infections is good with no complications; however, the prognosis worsens as the severity of infection increases and when complications develop.
  • It is possible to prevent or reduce the chance of getting an enterovirus infection. A vaccine is available to prevent polio, but there are no vaccines commercially available to prevent non-polio enterovirus infections. However, avoiding contact with infected individuals, using good hand-washing techniques, and disinfecting items that contact infected individuals can reduce the chance of becoming infected.
Picture of a rash on a child's face due to enterovirus (echovirus-9)
Picture of a rash on a child's face due to enterovirus (echovirus-9); SOURCE: CDC/Heinz F. Eichenwald, MD, New York Hospital, Cornell Univ.; Ann Cain
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/19/2016

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