A number of cases of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), a rare and potentially serious respiratory infection, have been reported in Canada and the United States.
Enterovirus is related to the common cold virus and can spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing, by close contact with infected persons or by touching a contaminated surface.
EV-D68 can cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms, similar to other viral infections. Symptoms can include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, fever and body aches.
As with the common cold, EV-D68 spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes or touches something. Younger people are generally more likely to get this type of infection because they are less likely to have developed resistance to the infection from a past exposure.
Advice to parents of children with asthma:
The enterovirus can cause a severe asthma flare-up in children. It is important to make sure your child’s asthma is under control. Have refills of your child’s medications and teach them how to prevent getting a cold. It is important to have all of your children asthma medication up to date and follow your child’s asthma action plan.
If your child has an increase use in their rescue inhaler, a drop in their peak flow, or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical attention.
Teach your children to protect themselves against the enterovirus.
Teach your children how to properly wash their hands.
• Wash hands regularly especially when in public or when you are with a person who is sick. Use plenty of soapy water and scrub for at least 20 seconds. If there is no easy access to a sink, use hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your face before washing your hands.
• Clean common areas of your home often – e.g., doorknobs, counters, computers.
• To reduce exposure to viruses, avoid crowded places and people who are sick.
• Sneeze and cough into your sleeve if you don’t have a tissue. If you use a tissue, throw it away right after use and wash your hands.
• Get the flu shot this fall.
For more information on enterovirus in Canada visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website.