San Juan Island School District

HEALTH ADVISORY: HUMAN ENTEROVIRUS (EV-68)

SEPTEMBER, 2014

There have been multiple clusters of respiratory illness outbreaks across the US in the last month; scientists say they believe the infections are caused by Enterovirus D68

The virus starts like the common cold; symptoms include sneezing, runny nose and a cough.  This is all that happens for most people.  But, a minority of persons may have more serious infections, particularly children with pre-existing asthma.  Parents do not need to worry about runny noses and sniffles, but should act quickly to get medical help if a child has a high fever, rash, or has wheezing and  difficulty breathing.  Persons with asthma should be sure their asthma symptoms are under good control, and see a health care provider if they develop respiratory symptoms and their asthma worsens.  Infants, children, and teens are more likely to become ill with the virus because they don’t yet have immunity (protection) from previous exposures.

SPREAD OF ENTEROVIRUS-68

  • Close contact with an infected person when he or she coughs or sneezes or by touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. 

SYMPTOMS OF ENTEROVIRUS-68

  • Mild to severe respiratory illness, with runny nose, cough, and difficulty breathing.
  • Rash with fever, mouth blisters, muscles aches 

PREVENTION OF ENTEROVIRUS-68

There are no vaccines to prevent this infection, but you can decrease your risk of getting it:

  • WASH HANDS OFTEN WITH SOAP AND WATER FOR 20 SECONDS
  • COVER YOUR COUGH
  • AVOID TOUCHING EYES, NOSE, AND MOUTH WITH UNWASHED HANDS
  • AVOID KISSING, HUGGING, AND SHARING EATING UTENSILS WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE ILL
  • DISINFECT FREQUENTLY TOUCHED SURFACES, ESPECIALLY IF SOMEONE IN THE HOME IS ILL
  • DO NOT GO TO SCHOOL, DAY CARE, OR WORK IF ILL.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus

N/PHS/CD/ENTEROVIRUS/JR/Enterovirus EV-68.09.2014

 

 Letter from School Nurse to Parents and Guardians of Students with Asthma

September 11, 2014

Dear Parent,

Recently there have been clusters of children in twelve US states infected with a respiratory virus called Enterovirus D-68.  We do not have any evidence of the virus in Washington at this time, but we want to alert you of this respiratory infection illness since your child has a history of asthma.

This virus starts out like a common cold with symptoms of runny nose, cough, and sneezing.  Typically most children get only these symptoms.  However, some children will get more severe symptoms such as a severe cough, wheezing, fever, or a rash. 

Children with asthma or a history of breathing problems are particularly susceptible for severe symptoms.  Be sure your child takes his asthma medications and maintains control of his or her illness during this time. It’s a good idea, too, to have your child get an annual influenza vaccine to avoid that respiratory illness.  If you child does exhibit any severe symptoms, don’t delay and see your health care provider right away.

If you have not done so yet, please make sure that the school has an authorization for medication for school from your child’s doctor for any medication needed, especially inhalers, and an inhaler with a prescription label from the pharmacy if you need school staff to administer it.

If the student carries their inhaler with them, we still need to have an authorization from the doctor. If you can sign the authorization and print the doctor’s name I will fax it to the doctor to get their signature, to save you time. Otherwise you can give it to the school offices. You can fax or scan and email it to me at the addresses below.

Sincerely,

Martha Sharon, PHN, SJISD School Nurse

pH 360.370.7515

marthas@sanjuanco.com