CALHOUN COUNTY, Miss.–The enterovirus could put your kids in the hospital and now two more young children have been infected in Mississippi, said the State Department of Health Monday. Those people are in Calhoun and Forrest counties.
The virus generally is not deadly, but could cause breathing problems. It’s not new. Enterovirus D68, as it was designated by health officials, was first diagnosed 50 years ago, and it is common.
There are up to 10-15 million infections in the United States each year. EV-D68 is one type of enterovirus that has recently been identified as sometimes causing severe respiratory illnesses and hospitalization in children.
The first person infected in Mississippi was in Hancock County last week. That means Mississippi is one of 40 states where the virus has been confirmed.
“There have been some reports in Colorado of this virus potentially causing some cases of muscle weakness or paralysis. In Mississippi, we have not seen this with any of our three confirmed cases, but we are working with healthcare providers to identify any possible complications from this virus and to provide further guidance on testing, prevention and infection control,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs, in a statement.
Here’s what you need to know:
Symptoms of EV-D68 are very similar to the common cold, and include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches. While most cases of illness are mild, children (newborns through teenagers) are most likely to become seriously ill, and those with asthma or underlying health conditions have a greater chance of complications from the virus.
“While there is no vaccine, there are some basic preventive measures you can take to prevent infection from EV-D68, as well as other viral illnesses such as flu,” said Dr. Dobbs.
Basic preventive measures include the following:
- Stay home (or keep children home) when ill and consult your healthcare provider.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or utensils with ill people.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
For more information, visit the MSDH website at HealthyMS.com/EV.