Five questions about enterovirus D68

The respiratory illness that has sent hundreds of children to hospitals in the Midwest has not hit Texas yet but parents and physicians are bracing for a possible outbreak of enterovirus D68 here.

While enteroviruses are common and only cause mild symptoms, this particular strain is rare in the United States, said Dr. Priya Bui, a pediatrician and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at UNT Health Science Center.  Symptoms resemble a cold, but in some children, it can turn more serious and require hospitalization, said Dr. Bui, who agreed to answer questions about the virus.

Q. What are the symptoms?
A. Children may have a low-grade fever, runny nose and sore throat and sometimes wheezing. Children with asthma or pre-existing respiratory problems are more likely to experience severe symptoms. It rarely affects adults.

Q. When do the symptoms become worrisome?
A.  Extreme symptoms to watch for include fast breathing, changes in the child’s normal breathing pattern or wheezing. A child who has never wheezed before may start wheezing with this virus, which can be frightening to parents.

Q. How is it treated?
A. There’s no specific treatment. Since this is a virus, it is self-limited and only supportive care is needed. Antibiotics are not used to treat a virus. Children who require hospitalization may need breathing treatments or require oxygen.

Q. How long are children sick with this virus?
A. Typically seven to 10 days. They are most contagious during the first two to three days after onset of symptoms but can continue to be contagious throughout the course of their illness.  No deaths have been reported from this virus.

Q. How can it be prevented?
A. The virus spreads easily among children who may touch their nose or mouth and then touch a toy or crayon that is then used by another child. They should wash their hands and surfaces they touch should be cleaned frequently.

Recent News

Screenshot 2024 06 20 At 3.45.01 pm
  • Our People
|Jun 20, 2024

From sacrifice to success: a journey through physical therapy school

Ancelmo Mojarro came to Fort Worth to study. The Tyler native knew he wanted to be a physical therapist early on his undergraduate days. He embarked on his path to physical therapy a decade ago, inspired by a friend's suggestion amidst his quest to find his calling in the medical field. “I starte...
  • Our People
|Jun 20, 2024

HSC pro bono physical therapy program offers hope

For 70-year-old Beverly Rozanski, the journey to improved health has been long and challenging. Raised in Michigan, Rozanski spent her childhood and early adult years struggling with physical challenges that made even the simplest tasks seem insurmountable. However, her discovery of a pro bono p...
Mills John
  • Our People
|Jun 20, 2024

Team of experts from HSC and TCOM develop a national position statement for NCCHC on care for aging patients in correctional facilities

Addressing an overlooked and sometimes neglected patient population, a group of experts from The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth partnered with the National Commission on Correctional Health Care to write a “Care for Aging Patients in the Correctional Setting” posit...
Jennifer Fix 2 Purple
  • Education
|Jun 18, 2024

Pharmacy technician shortage driving force behind new, online prep course

A self-paced, online Pharmacy Technician Preparation Course is now being offered through The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth as a way to help combat the shortage of pharmacy technicians at hospitals, health systems and retail pharmacies. Recognized by the Pharmacy Tech...