If you bring up the word “disease” or “illness” these days, what is the first word that pops up? Ebola, right? The malady has spread the word about its dangerous invasion all over the world, and unfortunately, people are oblivious to the other dangers lurking around. Now, there is a rare, deadly virus spreading around, competing with the well-known epidemic – Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), and it has been spotted in forty-three states so far. The U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention say that the EV viruses, in general, are “quite common in September” (1), causing the “summer colds”. No big deal, right? This particular strain, unlike the others, has unforgivingly killed five children in the last two months.
What is the Enterovirus D68? It is a detrimental, uncommon virus that has made its appearance all over the United States, causing mild to severe respiratory illness cases, unlike Ebola, which causes vomiting, diarrhea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function. EV-D68 can cause sneezing, coughing, muscle aches, and a runny nose. Doesn’t seem too bad does it? Well other severe cases can make a person wheeze or can cause difficulty in breathing, and dismally, can cause death. Victims all over the US, not to mention Canada, have been hospitalized because of this sickness.
How come we haven’t heard of this virus earlier? Actually, the United States had their first encounter with it in California, fifty-two years ago, but it was quickly solved… or so they thought. There were small groups of people affected with this virus around five years ago, but nothing like today. Now, states like New York and New Jersey are finding several cases everywhere. It’s only a matter of time before this condition goes global. About six hundred people are affected with disease in the United States, many fighting to live through the pain in their lungs.
Who is affected: Mainly children and teenagers. Scientists say that because of their weaker immune system, they are more susceptible to the virus. Adults have also come in contact with EV-D68, but they showed little to no symptoms. Children all over the country are filling up the hospitals rapidly, only to find that the doctors there cannot cure it. Since this strain of the Enterovirus is a rare one, scientists have yet to find a cure, before most children are admitted into the hospitals. No pressure. Until the cure is found, Dr. Howard Zucker, State Health Commissioner of New York, has suggested everyone to practice “proper hygiene” (1). The way this virus spreads is through respiratory fluids: saliva and nasal mucus. Doctors like Dr. Zucker are treating this virus like any flu, with health precautions and sanitary practices.
Enterovirus D68 has entered as another contender against our health. Although it isn’t as deadly as Ebola, it can soon become one of the worst outbreaks ever known. Children are encouraged to take health precautions as if this was any other virus. Adults are encouraged to do the same, perhaps as time progresses, doctors and scientists hope that this virus will once again become history.
Wilson, Jacque. “Enterovirus D68 Sickens More than a Dozen in New York.” CNN. Cable News Network, 12 Sept. 2014. Web. 28 Oct. 2014. <http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/12/health/enterovirus-new-york/>.