INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Health officials said there are now 19 cases of enterovirus D68 in Indiana.
The Indiana State Department of Health is working with local health departments and hospitals to conduct surveillance for additional cases of EV-D68 in the state. Surveillance of hospital emergency department chief complaints indicates that statewide respiratory activity has returned within normal limits.
“The best way to prevent the spread of EV-D68 is through washing your hands with soap and water frequently, covering your cough and staying home when you’re sick,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “This virus can be quite serious and potentially even fatal. These measures are currently our best defense.”
Doctors say enterovirus D68 is an uncommon strain of a common virus. Those with enteroviruses suffer from cold-like symptoms, but with more wheezing and coughing. Other symptoms include runny nose, headache, body aches and congestion. In some cases, there can be difficulty breathing and fever. It mainly affects babies, children and teens.
Indiana is one of several states affected in this multi-state outbreak, which includes the surrounding states of Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio.
Enteroviruses, including EV-D68, are spread through close contact with infected people. Health officials recommend the following tips to prevent the spread of infection:
- Clean: Wash your hands frequently with warm soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is not effective in preventing the spread of EV-D68.
- Cover: Cover your cough with your sleeve or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Contain: Prevent spreading illness to others by staying home if you are sick.
- Avoid close contact and sharing cups or eating utensils with those who are ill.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
Individuals experiencing cold-like symptoms and trouble breathing should contact their doctor immediately.