What You Should Know About Enterovirus EV-D68

Enteroviruses are a common group of viruses that can cause various types of illness, including respiratory illness that effects the nose, throat and lungs.

Much like many other respiratory illnesses, we often see an increase in cases of enterovirus in the fall and winter seasons. In recent weeks, as expected, Alberta has seen an increase in respiratory illnesses, including those caused by enteroviruses.

There are different types – or strains – of enteroviruses, including enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). EV-D68 is one of the strains of enteroviruses that we are seeing in Alberta right now.

At this time, it is NOT known whether the cases of EV-D68 recently confirmed in Alberta are the same strain as the strain of EV-D68 currently circulating in the USA. Alberta’s Provincial Laboratory of Public Health continues to work with the National laboratory to determine whether the EV-D68 cases in Alberta are being caused by the same EV-D68 that has been reported in the USA.

Cases of EV-D68 confirmed by lab, in Alberta*

Results of testing completed and reported in Alberta between
July 1, 2014 to October 10, 2014:

North Zone 5
Edmonton Zone 16
Central Zone 14
Calgary Zone 52
South Zone 6
Total 93*

* Results of testing completed and reported in Alberta between July 1 and October 10, 2014.

Protecting yourself and your loved ones:

Albertans are encouraged to follow these simple precautions to protect themselves from circulating viruses, including enteroviruses:

  • Using soap and warm water, wash your hands thoroughly and often, including after coughing, sneezing, using tissues or the washroom, and before eating or preparing foods. Alcohol-based hand rub or sanitizer can also be helpful if hands are not visibly soiled.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing. If you don’t have a tissue, always cough or sneeze into your arm, not into your hands. Throw away tissues after wiping your nose or covering a cough and wash your hand.
  • Make a point of keeping hands and fingers away from your eyes, nose and mouth
  • If you have symptoms of illness, including fever, cough, runny nose or sneezing, stay home from work, school, daycare, or any social function. Please also refrain from visiting family, friends or loved ones in hospitals, care facilities or seniors lodges, until you have fully recovered.
  • Keep household surfaces clean, regularly using a household cleaner (follow directions on the product label)

Check out these resources for more information:

Enterovirus D68 Q & A – October 7, 2014

EV-D68 & Neurological Syndrome in Alberta – October 6, 2014

(Alberta Health Services)