SSWAA would like to share the following information from the U.S. Department of Education and CDC to assist you in working with schools and families.
Bimonthly U.S. Department of Education Newsletter for the Military Community
Touching Base-- Special Edition October 2014
Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) and the Ebola Virus
Nationwide Outbreak of Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68)
The United States has been experiencing a nationwide outbreak of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) associated with severe respiratory illness that has been especially harmful to children. Almost all of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-confirmed cases this year of EV-D68 infection have been among children. Many of the children had asthma or a history of wheezing. Many parents continue to be worried about the outbreak and want information about what they can do to prevent illness and protect themselves and their families. The CDC has developed information and resources for parents about EV-D68.
What is EV-D68?
EV68 almost exclusively causes respiratory illness, and varies from mild to severe. Initial symptoms are similar to those for the common cold, including a runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. As the disease progresses, more serious symptoms may occur, including difficulty breathing as in pneumonia, reduced alertness, a reduction in urine production, and dehydration, and may lead to respiratory failure. Like all enteroviruses, it can cause variable skin rashes, abdominal pain and soft stools.
Enteroviruses are very common, especially in the early fall. The CDC estimates that 10 million to 15 million infections occur in the United States each year. These viruses usually present like the common cold; symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose and a cough. Most people recover without any treatment. But Enterovirus D68 appears to be exacerbating breathing problems in children who have asthma.
"Children less than 5 years old and children with underlying asthma appear to be at greatest risk of having medical complications from EV-D68," Oklahoma epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley said. "If a child develops a cold or a cough, parents and caregivers should just watch the child a little more closely. ... If wheezing or asthma-like symptoms develop, medical care should be accessed immediately."
What can be done to prevent it?
Like other enteroviruses, the respiratory illness appears to spread through close contact with infected people. That makes children more susceptible.
There's not a great deal you can do, health officials say, beyond taking commonsense steps to reduce the risk. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds -- particularly after going to the bathroom and changing diapers. Clean and disinfect surfaces that are regularly touched by different people, such as toys and doorknobs. Avoid shaking hands, kissing, hugging and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick. And stay home if you feel unwell.
There's no vaccine for EV-D68.
Communities may also have questions about the Ebola virus. This special edition newsletter shall address both public health concerns. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education and our federal health partners have a number of informational resources to share.
Below are CDC resources about EV-D68 developed for parents:
Web Feature, “What Parents Need to Know About Enterovirus D68”
Drop-in newsletter article (matte article), “Parents: Learn the Facts about Enterovirus D68”
Fact sheet for parents, “What Parents Need to Know about Enterovirus D68”+
General questions and answers for the public
Infographic: Keep Your Child from Getting and Spreading Enterovirus D68
Other resources include:
Parents, CDC addresses your questions & concerns w/ new educational materials about EV-D68. http://1.usa.gov/1o92Sdx
Concerned about #enterovirus? Here’s what you need to know about EV-D68 & respiratory illness. http://1.usa.gov/1sC9Jfc
Parents, follow these steps to protect kids, esp those w/ asthma, from EV-D68 & other viruses that cause respiratory illness. http://go.usa.gov/VyzA
The CDC issued a press release on Oct 15 sharing news about a new lab test developed by CDC for EV-D68 which will allow more rapid testing of specimens.
Remember too, as entrovirus season is expected to taper off, flu activity usually begins to increase in October. While there is not a vaccine to prevent illness from enterovirus, the single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year. Many resources for parents and others can be found on the CDC flu web site. CDC recommends that ALL children 6 months old or older get a flu vaccine.
What can you do as a parent?
Share the fact sheet with doctor’s offices, clinics, faith communities, and other community settings.
The Ebola Virus
Communities have questions about what schools can do to keep students and adults safe from the Ebola virus. The President has made control of Ebola a top national security priority, and we as a nation have spent more than $100 million fighting this outbreak since the first cases were reported last March in Africa. Our national health system has the capacity and expertise to quickly detect and contain this disease and is working with states and school districts to ensure the safety of our students and school employees. As you likely know, the CDC is continually updating its information on Ebola, information that can be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html.
Our Department’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students has a number of materials available regarding Readiness and Emergency Management of Schools in crisis situations, and those materials can be found here: http://rems.ed.gov/. One resource at this web link is steps the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) has taken to keep parents and community partners continually updated on the Ebola situation there, including establishing a web site: http://www.dallasisd.org/healthupdates. Additional materials developed by the DISD Communications Team included there are: Ebola FAQ and Talking with Children about Ebola.
“I am confident we can prevent a serious outbreak.”
—---President Barack Obama, The White House, Oct 15, 2014
Contacts: Massie Ritsch, acting assistant secretary of External Affairs and Outreach, Cynthia Hearn Dorfman, advisor; Carrie Jasper, writer and editor.
Note: This document contains information about and from public and private entities and organizations for the reader’s information. Inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any entity or organization or the products or services offered or views expressed. This publication also contains hyperlinks and URLs created and maintained by outside organizations. They are provided for the reader’s convenience; however, the Department is not responsible for the accuracy of this information.