Extent of Enterovirus D68 outbreak in 2014 shown in study

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      Respiratory infections associated with the Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) increased eight-fold in 2014, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).

      The finding was contained in a study published Thursday (October 29) in the scientific journal EuroSurveillance.

      The study indicated that illnesses associated with the EV-D68 multiplied eight times as many from October to December 2014 as those in the same period in 2013.

      A BCCDC news release noted that the study looked at the EV-D68 epidemic in Canada in the fall of 2014, during which more than 200 cases were detected in B.C. alone.

      EV-D68 causes respiratory illness. Mild cases bear cold-like symptoms like runny nose, cough, and sneezing. It can also cause severe illness like difficult breathing.

      “Children and teenagers may suffer more from EV-D68 because they have not been previously exposed to as many kinds of enteroviruses as adults and have not developed immunity to these viruses,” Dr. Danuta Skowronski, physician epidemiologist at BCCDC and lead investigator of the study, stated in the news release.

      The virus is spread when an infected coughs or sneezes. One can also get it by touching contaminated objects.

      There is no treatment or vaccine for the virus. People generally get well by themselves.

      The BCCDC suggests washing hands often with soap and water to reduce the spread of EV-D68.