Be smart about enteroviruses

e-Connections Post

Editor’s note: The Centers for Disease Control offers the following information about enteroviruses:

Non-polio enteroviruses are very common viruses.They cause about 10 to 15 million infections in the United States each year.Tens of thousands of people are hospitalized each year for illnesses caused by enteroviruses.

Anyone can get infected with non-polio enteroviruses. But infants, children and teenagers are more likely to get infected and become sick.That’s because they do not yet have immunity (protection) from previous exposures to the viruses.

Most people who get infected with non-polio enteroviruses do not get sick. Or, they may have mild illness, like the common cold. But some people can get very sick and have infection of their heart or brain or even become paralyzed. Infants and people with weakened immune systems have a greater chance of having these complications.

You can get infected with non-polio enteroviruses by having close contact with an infected person. You can also get infected by touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

In the United States, people are more likely to get infected with non-polio enteroviruses in the summer and fall.

There is no vaccine to protect you from non-polio enterovirus infection.

Since many infected people do not have symptoms, it is difficult to prevent non-polio enteroviruses from spreading.

You can help protect yourself and others from non-polio enterovirus infections by:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers.
  • Avoiding close contact, such as touching and shaking hands, with people who are sick.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

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