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Media Room Jose Rodriguez
Director of Public Affairs & Communications
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jrrodriguez@columbus.gov

Enterovirus D68 Causing Severe Respiratory Illnesses -- 9.24.2014

Columbus Public Health – Press Release

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, September 24, 2014

 
Contact:  Jose Rodríguez                   (614) 604-5025               jrrodriguez@columbus.gov
 
Enterovirus D68 Causing Severe Respiratory Illnesses in Central Ohio 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Confirms Local Cases 


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed the Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) in suspected cases in central Ohio.  The test results followed an increase in emergency department and urgent care visits and hospitalizations in children with severe respiratory illnesses at local hospitals.  

“Columbus Public Health is closely monitoring this outbreak of respiratory illnesses and is working with area hospitals to protect the health and safety of all residents,” says Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Teresa Long.  “It is important for parents to monitor their children’s symptoms if they are sick.  If a child has cold symptoms, and starts wheezing or having trouble breathing, seek immediate medical assistance.”

Symptoms of EV-D68 are similar to a common cold and can include fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and body aches.  Many who contract EV-D68 will recover without medical attention, but those who experience wheezing and difficulty breathing should be examined by a physician.      

While there is no vaccine for EV-D68, all residents are strongly encouraged to get the seasonal flu vaccine as soon as possible. Having two respiratory illnesses circulating in our region will put our community at greater risk for illness. Because individuals with asthma are at higher risk for respiratory illnesses, they should regularly take their prescribed medicines and maintain control of their asthma during this time. 

EV-D68 spreads through close contact with an infected person or by touching objects or surfaces contaminated with the virus. There are more than 100 types of enteroviruses which commonly cause respiratory illness; however, EV-D68 is less common.    

While there are no vaccines to prevent EV-D68, there are ways to reduce the risk of getting infected.
• Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds;
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a sleeve or a tissue;
• Stay home if you are sick;
• Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth; 
• Don’t kiss, hug, shake hands or share cups or eating utensils with people who are sick;
• Disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.  

For more information about EV-D68, visit Columbus Public Health at publichealth.columbus.gov or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov.

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