With all of the news about ebola, many are completely unaware of a much more serious, prevalent threat to American teens. The Enterovirus 68 is a 50 year old respiratory virus spreading across the nation. As of October 1st, according to the Center for Disease Control, there are 500 confirmed cases spanning 40 states, compared to only one person being diagnosed with Ebola in America.
The virus is quite brutal, with early symptoms looking very similar to the common cold and progressing to muscular pains and even paralysis. The first death caused by the Enterovirus was announced on October 1st, a boy from Rhode Island. It has also been found in four deceased bodies, though currently it is unclear what the virus’ role in their death was.
It is very important to note that this virus is spread like the common cold, through saliva and mucus which means sneezing and coughing is dangerous. Around this time of the year, early to mid-fall, is when the virus is most prevalent with scientists looking for a decline in infections going into the late fall. What makes this disease so dangerous is how close to the common cold it looks like in the early stages. The trait everyone should be looking for to discern between the two is wheezing and difficulty breathing. The common cold does not exhibit this symptom so if you have trouble breathing while at rest, be sure to consult a doctor.
To help prevent spread of this disease, be sure to frequently and thoroughly wash your hands. Try to avoiding kissing, hugging, any other close contact with anyone that appears sick at all and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
Stay clean, and stay safe Urbana.