EV-68 Virus Information

Cover Your Cough and Wash Your Hands
Thursday Sep 18, 14
Cover Your Cough and Wash Your Hands

 

The EV-68 virus has been all over the news lately with children landing in hospitals in Minnesota and across the country with respiratory issues. Families here in our own district have concerns about the virus and have asked our schools about the reports.

What is EV-68?
The enterovirus (EV) is a very common virus that resembles cold-like symptoms. The EV-68 is a strain of the enterovirus family that is more uncommon and can cause more mild to serious symptoms. As with most illnesses, people with chronic diseases or those who have compromised immune systems are at higher risk of severe symptoms.  The virus is found in saliva, nasal and oral mucous. The enteroviruses can be spread by close contact with an infected person who may cough or sneeze on you and by touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Enteroviruses can also be spread through the fecal-oral route. However, it is believed that once the droplet has dried on the hard surface, it is no longer alive.

What Schools are Doing and What You can Do to Prevent the Spread of Illness
During any illness season or outbreak, it is important that everyone be vigilant in hand washing. It is preferred that hands be washed with soap and warm water verses the use of hand sanitizer products. School staff instructs students to wash their hands regularly throughout the school day and as needed while in the classroom. They are also being reminded the importance of covering their cough or sneeze with their sleeve (into their elbow versus hands). People should also avoid touching their face (eyes, nose, mouth) with their hands as much as possible. Students who appear to be ill or experience frequent coughing are sent to the health office for evaluation.

Even though the EV-68 virus does not live long on hard surfaces, hard surface cleaning can help avoid the spread of various other illnesses. District maintenance staff regularly clean and disinfect high traffic areas in the schools for this very reason.

Another key to prevent the spread of germs is to keep children home if they are not feeling well. District staff are also instructed to do they same if they are ill. There is no vaccine for preventing EV-68, but some symptoms can be treated by over-the-counter medications for pain and fever (aspirin should not be given to children).

With everyone working together on some of these basic practices, we can help stop the spread of germs that cause illness.  

To find more information, you can visit these sources:

Wright County

Minnesota Department of Health