The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is monitoring an increase in respiratory illnesses throughout the state. Several hospitals in Illinois and Missouri have reported clusters of severe respiratory illness, particularly in children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified the cause in some cases as Enterovirus 68, or EV-D68. Patients typically presented with a cough, difficulty breathing, and wheezing; they may or may not have had a fever.
There are more than 100 kinds of enteroviruses, and EV-D68 is not very common. There is no specific treatment for this virus, but several behaviors can help prevent its spread:
- Most important: Wash hands often! Use soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with persons who are ill.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
- Stay home when feeling sick.
For more information about preventing the spread of this virus and its symptoms, please see the attached press release from IDPH.