Health and Safety
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Rise of Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) Respiratory Illness Cases Reported
Several hospitals in Illinois and Missouri have recently reported clusters of severe respiratory illness in community members, especially children. In two of these hospitals, enterovirus was identified as the cause of the illnesses.
More information on EV-D68 is available at this link www.idph.state.il.us/health/infect/enterovirus_D68.htm.
The age of ill persons in two of the hospitals with confirmed enterovirus D68 in Missouri and Illinois ranged from six weeks to 16 years, with a median of 4 and 5.5 years, respectively. Patients presented with cough, difficulty breathing, with or without fever and wheezing.
There are many types of enteroviruses, which are very common viruses of respiratory illness. Most infected people have no symptoms or mild symptoms but some infections can be serious. Enterovirus infections tend to occur seasonally, in the summer and fall. Enteroviruses can cause respiratory symptoms, febrile rash, meningitis, or encephalitis. These viruses are transmitted through close contact with an infected person, or by touching objects or surfaces that are contaminated with the virus and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes.
Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), a specific type of enterovirus, usually causes mild to severe respiratory illness. Because it has not been reported commonly, the full spectrum of illness due to this type of enterovirus is not well-defined.
There is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infections and no specific anti-viral medications currently available for this purpose. Vaccines are not available. The measures below can help reduce the risk of infection with EV-D68:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid kissing, hugging and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are ill
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick
- Stay home when feeling sick and obtain consultation from your health care provider
Please contact your child’s health care provider if you have any questions about the enterovirus. Contact your child’s school if he or she will be absent.
Norovirus Health Alert
Important Public Health Notice Issued Regarding Norovirus – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has noted a marked increase in the number of reported outbreaks of Norovirus in schools and daycare facilities this fall. The Norovirus is a very contagious acute gastrointestinal virus characterized by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.
IDPH has released guidance concerning limiting the spread of the virus and exclusion recommendations for children and staff in schools and daycare facilities. The guidance is posted on the Illinois State Board of Education's website and can be accessed directly at http://www.isbe.net/esd/pdf/Norovirus.pdf.
In response to recent reports of vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps among some District 62 students, the Cook County Department of Public Health makes the following recommendations:
- If your child becomes ill with gastrointestinal type illness (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain), please see your primary medical provider.
- Make sure your child practices proper and frequent hand hygiene at home to reduce the risk of disease transmission. Soap and water should be used for cleansing hands after using the restroom and when hands are visibly soiled. Alternatively, when hands are not soiled, waterless, alcohol-based sanitizers may be used.
- Clean environmental surfaces (i.e., table tops, door knobs) and surfaces contaminated by vomit with a bleach solution (1/4 cup bleach to one gallon of water).
- Keep ill children away from school for one (1) day after symptoms end.
If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Cook County Department of Public Health at 708-492-2150 or Donna Zenger, District 62 Coordinator of School Health Services, at 847-824-4901.
Thank you for your assistance in complying with these recommendations.
Dr. Jane L. Westerhold
Superintendent of Schools
Des Plaines School District 62