Sunday, November 27, 2016

Rare Enterovirus D68 Strain Continues to Infect Children

Enterovirus D68 is not a relatively new virus by any means, however last year it was observed that this virus is not as simple as once thought.  It was discovered that the original D68 virus had mutated to form a new strain that was far more significant than its original form.  D68 is traditionally characterized by moderate respiratory illness, often in children, however the new strain had mutated to a more sever degree causing a form of paralysis called acute flaccid paralysis, which similar to that of polio.  Cases of this are rare as this strain is much less common, however a new series of about four cases have been reported in Scotland, with the most recent developing in the last couple of months.

This case was reported in a three-year-old male with the diagnoses being all but concise.  The child presented with an earache, which was dismissed, however 48 hours later the child advanced in his illness with chest and respiratory complications which was also determined to be a general chest infection.  Within the next day the child reached a more significant point in complaint with a pounding heart and a sudden drooping in his face coupled with a loss of movement in his left arm.  After two hours in the hospital he lost the ability to stand and walk as well as the total loss of movement in his arms and within the day the virus had taken his ability to breath.  After multiple misdiagnoses the doctors finally discovered the rare “polio-like” strain of the enterovirus D68 that had damaged the nerves of the spinal cord responsible for various functions like limb movement and breathing.  Although this virus is not groundbreaking or considered to be emerging, it brings attention to the interesting idea that viruses with lesser degrees of infectivity don’t receive the high attention such as things like polio, even though this strain of D68 causes almost identical effects.  This virus strain continues to infect children in a widespread manner, however there is no treatment or a large commitment to research due to its rarity.

-Ethan Wentworth


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