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NEWS | Oct. 24, 2014

Prevention is the best medicine when facing Enterovirus D-68


With cases of the respiratory illness Enterovirus D-68 being reported in South Carolina, it is important to make sure all members of the military community are informed and safe when confronting this illness.

Enterovirus D-68 is spread like most common colds - through contact with surfaces or objects an infected person has coughed on, sneezed on or touched. Also like a cold, there are no effective vaccines or antiviral medications to fight or prevent it, so early detection and care are vital to treatment.

Enterovirus D-68 primarily effects children 16 weeks to 16 years of age, and the most common symptoms to watch for are traces of a cold or respiratory illness like a fever, runny nose or cough. Parents need to be especially vigilant in regards to children with asthma, and should bring their children to the base clinic or emergency room if their children are wheezing or having difficulty breathing.

Anyone who suspects they or a family member may have Enterovirus D-68 should contact their physician or the base clinic for more information. If suffering from severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, patients should visit the emergency room or call emergency medical services.

Anyone feeling under the weather should remain at home.

· Cover mouth (tissue or sleeve) when sneezing or coughing and promptly dispose of the used tissues. 
· Wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds - particularly after coughing, sneezing or blowing one's nose, after going to the bathroom and before eating.  
· Clean and disinfect surfaces that are regularly touched by different people, including telephones and computers. 
· Avoid shaking hands, kissing, hugging and sharing cups or eating utensils, especially with anyone who is sick.

For more information on Enterovirus D-68, there are numerous guides and fact sheets that can be found on the Centers for Disease Control at website.

By following proper precautions and prevention methods, Enterovirus D-68 should have little effect on Joint Base Charleston personnel and their families.