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Symptoms and Signs of Non-Polio Enterovirus Infection

Doctor's Notes on Non-Polio Enterovirus Infection

Enteroviruses are common viruses spread among people by secretions from the gastrointestinal tract or sometimes by respiratory secretions. They are small RNA viruses that belong to the family Picornaviridae and are typically classified as polioviruses or non-polio enteroviruses. A number of different viral types belong to the non-polio enteroviruses, including Coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, enterovirus D68, and others.

Non-polio enterovirus infections often do not produce any symptoms or cause only mild illness with symptoms such as runny nose, cough, sneezing, fever, rash, mouth blisters, and body aches. Other non-polio enterovirus infections may cause meningitis, accompanied by symptoms such as painful headache, sensitivity to light, fever, stiff neck, irritability, and nausea and vomiting. Serious infections with non-polio enteroviruses are less common but may cause pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining sac of the heart), myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and paralysis.

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Non-Polio Enterovirus Infection Symptoms

Symptoms and signs of non-polio enterovirus infection depend on the virus type and host immune response. Most infections either do not cause symptoms or cause mild illnesses with symptoms such as runny nose, cough, sneezing, fever, rash, mouth blisters (herpangina), and body aches.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a condition characterized by fever, blisters in the mouth, and a skin rash. It occurs most commonly in children younger than 5 years of age, but it can sometimes occur in adults or older children.

Other non-polio enterovirus infections may cause meningitis, accompanied by symptoms such as painful headache, sensitivity to light, fever, stiff neck, irritability, and nausea and vomiting. Meningitis caused by enteroviruses is most common in infants and children. Hemorrhagic conjunctivitis, the inflammation of lining membranes of the eyes accompanied by bleeding, is another possible manifestation of non-polio enterovirus infection.

Serious infections with non-polio enteroviruses are less common but may cause pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining sac of the heart), myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and paralysis.

Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) was first identified in 2008, with the most recent outbreak described in the U.S. in 2014, causing respiratory illnesses. Symptoms of EV-D68 infection can include breathing problems, cough, and a rash; some patients develop wheezing. Young children and those with respiratory conditions such as asthma typically have more severe symptoms.

Non-Polio Enterovirus Infection Causes

Non-polio enterovirus infections are transmitted from person to person. The viruses can be found in the bodily fluids (sputum, nasal secretions, saliva, fluid from skin blisters, or feces) of an infected person. Therefore, close contact with an infected person is the biggest risk factor for non-polio enterovirus infection. Other behaviors that increase the risk of infection include touching surfaces or objects contaminated by bodily fluids from an infected person, changing diapers of an infected person, or drinking water that has been contaminated by virus.

Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) Symptoms and Treatment Slideshow

Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) Symptoms and Treatment  Slideshow

Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is one of the more than 100 types of enteroviruses which can cause 10 – 15 million infections in the US each year. EV-D68 was first identified in California 1962 and until recently has caused very few infections in the United States. However, this strain of virus began an outbreak in the Midwest and has now reached coast-to-coast causing children respiratory problems.

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

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