Respiratory virus reported in 22 states; highly contagious


Photo by Kaylee P.

School janitor Danny Colburn disinfects a classroom table. Consistently disinfecting public surfaces, especially in schools, is highly recommended to help prevent the spread of the respiratory virus.

Kaylee P.

Every parent teaches their children at a young age to cover their mouths when they cough and wash their hands regularly. Parents also keep their sick kids home from school, helping to prevent the spreading of infectious diseases. Today, according to the Four Corners Health Department, these precautionary actions are helping students battle a new respiratory virus, Enterovirus D68, found in respiratory secretions and the intestinal tract.

“It has a short incubation period, the time it takes for symptoms to show up once you are exposed, and symptoms usually start three to five days after exposure,” school nurse Lori Palik said.

This virus is suspected to start hitting schools hard, transferring between students by touching to breathing in the same air of someone who has the virus. To help prevent the spread, make sure to consistently wash hands, for using hand sanitizer will not help with this virus. Also come to school only if you are fever free for 24 hours, and make sure to cover coughs and sneezes.

“The best thing is to stay home, get lots of rest, and drink lots of water. Over the counter medicines can really help with the virus,” advised Laura McDougall, Four Corners Health Department Assistant Director.

For public places such as school and day cares, McDougall suggested to consistently disinfect surfaces with bleach or solutions containing bleach in them.

Many cases have been reported in the midwest of kids visiting doctors and emergency rooms complaining of symptoms that resemble the common cold, except more severe. Nebraska has recently had its first report of the virus. The emergency warning signs can include, shortness of breath, sudden dizziness, severe vomiting, and pain or pressure in thoracic or abdominal region.