County shares information on D68 virus

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The Dane County Public Heath Department has shared some information on its website about Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), which has been in the news recently.

EV-D68 is a virus that causes respiratory symptoms. Its spread through parts of the Midwest has been reported in the news. Symptoms may be similar to the common cold or may be more severe. Most people will recover without treatment but people with a more severe form of the disease may need to seek health care and possibly be hospitalized.

The virus likely spreads from person to person when someone with the virus coughs or sneezes or when someone touches a contaminated surface. Without extensive lab testing, there is no way to tell whether someone's symptoms are due to EV-D68 or a different virus.

This testing will only be offered to patients that meet specific criteria set by the Wisconsin Division of Public Health. Health providers are not required to report EV-D68 to their local health department, so we don't know if EV-D68 is circulating in Wisconsin. There is no vaccine for EV-D68.

Respiratory viruses often spread in the fall when children return to school. Prevention of EV-D68 is the same as prevention of other respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often (alcohol hand-sanitizer gel is not effective against EV-D68)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Don't share drinks or eating utensils with people who are sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Stay home if you're sick

If you have questions about symptoms you or your child are having, call your doctor. If someone is having trouble breathing, call 911 and seek medical care right away.