Rhonda Patt

Enterovirus D-68 just one of many respiratory illnesses out there

Q. I’ve read in the news recently about enterovirus D-68. As a parent of a 6-month-old, how worried I should be? Should I keep her out of day care until all has resolved?

A. Enterovirus D-68 is a virus that affects mainly the respiratory system. Symptoms may include fever, runny nose, cough and wheezing. The virus has been in the news recently because of a widespread outbreak that started in the Midwest.

Although it is important to be aware of the virus, there is no reason for parents to panic. This virus is only one of many viruses that can cause respiratory problems in children. For example, RSV is a respiratory virus that circulates each winter and is responsible for about 100,000 pediatric hospitalizations each year.

Enterovirus D-68 is spread through respiratory secretions such as saliva and nasal mucous. The best way to prevent spreading the disease is by practicing good hand hygiene (i.e., hand washing).

With any respiratory virus, parents should monitor for signs the illness is more severe and may require medical attention. They include:

• Fever for more than three days.

• Lethargy.

• Shortness of breath or wheezing.

• Rapid breathing.

• Using abdominal muscles to breath.

For more information, visit cdc.gov.