The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a health alert concerning a severe respiratory illness associated with enterovirus D68.
The CDC said it was notified by health care providers and hospitals in several regions of the country that there was an increase in cases of severe respiratory illnesses where children also tested positive for rhinovirus and/or enterovirus, specifically for enterovirus D68.
EV-D68 has been linked with acute flaccid myelitis, a rare neurologic complication that results in weak limbs and is considered serious.
The CDC said that there could be an increase in cases of AFM in the upcoming weeks.
Symptoms of EV-D68 include:
- Runny nose
- Body aches
- Muscle aches
- Difficulty breathing
EV-D68 can be spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes or touches a surface that is then touched by someone else.
Symptoms of AFM include:
- Arm or leg weakness
- Pain in the neck, back, arms or legs
- Difficulty swallowing
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty moving eyes
- Drooping eyelids
- Facial drooping
- Facial weakness
This is not the first time that the country has seen an outbreak of EV-D68. The illness spread across the U.S. during the summer and fall of 2014. By January 2015, the CDC and state public health agencies confirmed that 1,395 people in 49 states and the District of Columbia had been infected by EV-D68.
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