Enterovirus 68

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Enterovirus 68

Virus Enterovirus 68
Structure Non-enveloped
Genome Single stranded RNA, positive sense
Family Picornaviridae
Primary Host Humans
Disease(s) Caused Respiratory illness
Symptoms Runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever, skin rash
Potential Complications Paralysis
Transmission Mode Aerosols, contact with contaminated fomites
Sites of Community Outbreaks Schools, daycares

Importance of Enterovirus 68

Enterovirus 68 is a non-enveloped member of the Picornaviridae family. First isolated in California in 1962, it has recently become more prevalent. In 2014, an outbreak in the United States totaled 1,153 laboratory-confirmed cases, mostly among children with a history of asthma.

Enterovirus 68 causes respiratory illness that can range from mild to severe. Mild cases typically present a runny nose, body aches, and cough. Severe cases are characterized by difficulty breathing and wheezing. People, especially children, with asthma have a higher risk of developing more severe symptoms.

The 2014 outbreak was closely associated with an increase of cases of acute flaccid myelitis (weakness in limbs and inflammation of nerve cells in spinal cord) in children. However, while samples from patients with acute flaccid myelitis have tested positive for Enterovirus 68, it is not yet known if Enterovirus 68 is directly responsible for this. There is currently no vaccine or treatment for Enterovirus 68.

Importance of Disinfection: Survival of Enterovirus 68 on Surfaces and Potential for Transmission via Fomites

As a respiratory virus, Enterovirus 68 is likely spread via inhalation of aerosols. Contaminated surfaces may also play a role if viable viral particles are spread to mucous membranes by the hands. As a non-enveloped virus, Enterovirus 68 is resistant to inactivation by environmental factors, such as temperature and humidity. Enteroviruses have been found to survive at room temperature for up to several days. Disinfectants that are efficacious against small, non-enveloped viruses, such as poliovirus and rhinovirus, are likely to also be effective against Enterovirus 68.

  • “Enterovirus D68.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 Mar. 2015. Web. 15 Jan. 2016.
  • Solomon, Tom, et al. “Virology, epidemiology, pathogenesis, and control of enterovirus 71.” The Lancet infectious diseases 10.11 (2010): 778-790.
  • “Summary of Findings: Investigation of Acute Flaccid Myelitis in U.S. Children, 2014-15.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 08 Sept. 2015. Web. 15 Jan. 2016.
  • Reynolds, Kelly A. “An Emerging and Deadly Waterborne Virus: Human Enterovirus 68.” Water Conditioning and Purification International 53.11 (2011): 52-54.