Enterovirus D-68 and other non-polio Enteroviruses
Non-polio enteroviruses are very common viruses, causing 10 – 15 million infections in the United States each year. Anyone can get infected with non-polio enteroviruses, but infants, children, and teenagers are more likely to get infected and become sick. That's because they do not yet have immunity (protection) from previous exposures to the viruses.
Most people who get infected with non-polio enteroviruses do not get sick or they may have mild illness like the common cold. Some people can get very sick and have infection of their heart or brain or even become paralyzed. Infants and people with weakened immune systems have a greater chance of having these complications.
You can get infected with non-polio enteroviruses by having close contact with an infected person. You can also get infected by touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
In the United States, people are more likely to get infected with non-polio enteroviruses in the summer and fall.
Symptoms of mild illness may include:
- runny nose, sneezing, cough
- skin rash
- mouth blisters
- body and muscle aches
Some non-polio enterovirus infections can cause:
- viral conjunctivitis (infection of the eye)
- hand, foot, and mouth disease
- viral meningitis (infection of the covering of the spinal cord and/or brain)
Less commonly, a person may develop:
- myocarditis (infection of the heart)
- pericarditis (infection of the sac around the heart)
- encephalitis (infection of the brain)
Non-polio enteroviruses can be found in an infected person's:
- feces (stool)
- eyes, nose, and mouth secretions (such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum)
- blister fluid
You can get exposed to the virus by:
- having close contact, such as touching or shaking hands, with an infected person
- touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them
- changing diapers of an infected person
- drinking water that has the virus in it
Non-polio enterovirus can be shed (passed from a person's body into the environment) in your stool for several weeks after infection. The virus can be shed from your respiratory tract for 1 – 3 weeks. Infected people can shed the virus even if they don't have symptoms.
There is no vaccine to protect you from non-polio enterovirus infection. Since many infected people do not have symptoms, it is difficult to prevent non-polio enteroviruses from spreading.
You can help protect yourself and others from non-polio enterovirus infections by:
- Washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers
- Avoiding close contact, such as touching and shaking hands, with people who are sick
Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces
There is no specific treatment for non-polio enterovirus infection. People with mild illness caused by non-polio enterovirus infection typically only need symptom treatment. They usually recover completely. However, some illnesses caused by non-polio enteroviruses can be severe enough to require hospitalization.
If you are concerned about your symptoms, you should contact your health care provider.
More information is available at the following resources: