Three cases of Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) have been confirmed in Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH). The cases were identified from specimens sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from a Philadelphia hospital.
DOH sent an alert out to Pennsylvania providers who are subscribed to receive alerts through their PA Health Alert Network (PA HAN).
According to the alert:
- DOH has begun a sentinel surveillance effort to determine the spread of the disease throughout Pennsylvania.Through conversations with a sample of large health centers, they have identified an apparent increase in pediatric severe respiratory cases in the southwestern part of the state, but no such increase has been reported yet in other areas of the state.
- Enterovirus infections are not reportable in Pennsylvania. However, “any unusual clusters” of disease should be reported to the local health department or local DOH office.
- DOH’s Bureau of Laboratories provides testing for respiratory viruses but does not currently subtype respiratory enteroviruses. Specimens from patients with severe respiratory illness would be forwarded to the CDC and results may take a few weeks to return. Regardless of turn-around time, it is important to note that the results of this testing would not be helpful for clinical management of the patient. There is no specific treatment for this infection.
- Standard and contact precautions are recommended and droplet precautions should be added if Enterovirus D68 is suspected.
- Clinicians are encouraged to use local/commercial resources to test samples from individual patients for respiratory viruses, using polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based “respiratory virus panels.” Providers should consider this diagnosis, but continue to test for other pathogens, particularly those for which there is specific treatment, including pertussis, Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) and other bacteria, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and other common respiratory viruses.
DOH also included the CDC Health Advisory in its alert.