“CDC has received substantially more specimens for enterovirus lab testing than usual this year, due to the large outbreak of EV-D68 and related hospitalizations,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, in a statement. “When rare or uncommon viruses suddenly begin causing severe illness, CDC works quickly to develop diagnostic tests to enhance our response and investigations. This new lab test will reduce what would normally take several weeks to get results to a few days.”
Since Aug. 1, the agency has tested more than 1,100 specimens submitted by hospitals from 45 states, of which half have tested positive for enterovirus D68 as of Oct. 10 in what has been an unusual outbreak of the disease.
From mid-August to Oct. 10, there have been more than 690 confirmed cases of enterovirus D68 in 46 states and the District of Columbia, according to the CDC.
Regarded as a seasonal illness that occurs in the summer and begins to decline by fall, enterovirus D68 can be particularly dangerous in children, causing breathing problems. The illness also has been associated with causing paralysis in several children.
There is no treatment for enterovirus, according to the CDC. Those infected are given supportive care until the body has time to recover. Most cases result in mild symptoms that can include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches.
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