Statement Article from  Public Health Agency of Canada

Archived - Message from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada - Enterovirus-D68

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October 17, 2014 - Ottawa

Since the summer, enterovirus-D68 (EV-D68) has been causing respiratory illnesses in young children in Canada, some of it severe.

On October 16, 2014 the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control confirmed that a young man who died earlier this week had EV-D68. The patient had a history of severe asthma and was in the hospital when he developed respiratory failure.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of this young man as they deal with their loss.

I recognize that some parents might be worried about EV-D68. They have concerns about the health of their children and wonder how to protect them from this virus.

It’s not unusual to see more cases of respiratory illnesses caused by enteroviruses in the fall as children go back to school.

Most adults and children who get EV-D68 will have only mild symptoms similar to the common cold, such as coughing and sneezing and will recover quickly.

Parents of young children with respiratory conditions like asthma should monitor their children closely if they develop cold-like symptoms. This year EV-D68 may cause more serious illness, such as difficulty breathing, in children and young adults with asthma. If you are worried about your child, I encourage you to contact your healthcare provider.

There have also been reports of a very small number of children with EV-D68 experiencing paralysis, which is the loss of the ability to move a part of the body. At this point, no definitive link has been made between EV-D68 and paralysis. More research is needed to determine if the cases of paralysis being reported are caused by EV-D68 or by other factors. As is the case with all reports of paralysis in children under 15 years old in Canada, these cases will be investigated by treating physicians and relevant public health authorities.

The best way to protect yourself and your family is to keep your hands clean, cough into your sleeve and stay home when sick. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for EV-D68.

The Agency has alerted public health professionals across the country to raise awareness and to remain vigilant. The Agency is also working with the Canadian Pediatric Society to keep pediatricians informed about EV-D68.

For more information: Public Health Update on Enterovirus D68

Media Inquiries:

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
(613) 957-2983

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