By: Asma Warrich
With all the coughs and sneezes heard around campus, it’s no surprise that flu season is coming in. While the flu starts to circula te, another virus has been affecting children, teens and young adults since mid-summer, or what many call here, the Carolina Plague.
Enterovirus D68, an uncommon strain in the Enterovirus family, causes more respiratory symptoms than others in its family. Most patients who are severely affected tend to already have some underlying respiratory issues, like asthma – contracting this virus tends to intensify those issues. Many cases of the virus have already been reported in North Carolina.
Enterovirus D68 is not a new – it’s been around for a long time and is causing the same problems as it did before. The only difference is that this season, the number of cases has increased significantly. Since it wasn't previously seen as a large enough threat, no treatment or cure was developed.
The symptoms of the virus are hard to notice at first because they mimic those of the flu or cold: runny nose, cough and low fever. This virus becomes identifiable as Enterovirus D68 when symptoms become exaggerated, include wheezing, difficulty breathing and extensive coughs.
Taking precautionary methods, such as those listed below can help students avoid contracting the virus.
- Because this virus is spread through contact with infected individual and/or their secretions, it’s important to avoid both
- Wash your hands, preferably with soap and water, as often as you can
- Sneeze into your sleeve and not your hand to avoid spreading the virus
- Wipe down frequently touched surfaces, such as door knobs and desks
So is the Enterovirus D68 the new plague? Probably not, but it’s not something that we should ignore or underestimate.
Click here to learn more about the virus.