Enterovirus D68 Enters Forsyth Georgia


Jessica Prouty, Staff Writer

Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is a respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe respiratory dysfunction, such as an extreme difficulty breathing, and is one of more than 100 types of non-polio enteroviruses (any virus grouped within the category of RNA affecting viruses). EV-D68 has created an increasing panic across the United States within the last year. The enterovirus was first discovered in California in 1962, and was thought to be of little threat to the community. Over time the virus pace and severity has drastically increased. Few cases have been reported on a regular basis since 1987. Now, over fifty years later, the virus has created a true panic among citizens as the number of cases confirmed by medical personnel reaches an all time high.

EV-D68 affects infants, children, and teenagers due to their underdeveloped immune systems, which are not accustomed to exposure to such an illness. While the virus is most common amongst younger age groups, adults can still be infected. However, it is stated that adults are likely to exhibit few symptoms of the virus. Those who suffer from respiratory illnesses such as asthma are confirmed to be at more of a risk of infection due to preexisting respiratory difficulties.

Currently, there are no confirmed successful treatments for EV-D68. However, there are many ways to help decrease chances of contracting or spreading the virus from person to person. Methods of prevention include:

  • When the opportunity presents itself, one should wash his or her hands with soap and warm water in hopes of killing and removing any possible bacteria.
  • One should avoid all contact of their hands with his or her eyes, mouth and nose. Doing so will decrease chances of the virus entering their system should there be traces of bacteria on his or her fingertips.
  • Avoid close contact with those who complain of symptoms or seem sick. By doing so one can significantly decrease his or her chances of becoming infected by those who are contagious.
  • One should clean and disinfect surfaces frequently. Items such as desks, keyboards, bags, etc. that are touched often should be cleaned and, if not cleaned, avoided.
  • If one is to become ill, it is best to stay home. By staying home, one can take time to recover as well as avoid spreading illness to others.

While few cases have been confirmed in North Georgia, there still have been confirmations of the enterovirus in the Forsyth area. It is important to take precautions to avoid contracting and spreading the virus, as this particular virus can be dangerous and cause massive amounts of damage to one’s respiratory system.