Enterovirus: Think it is a cold or flu? Think again.

Enterovirus: Think it is a cold or flu? Think again.

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Photo courtesy of AJ Cann/Flickr

SAN DIEGO, September 23, 2014 — The enterovirus is a highly diverse and complex virus.

With approximately 64 types of non-polio variations, it affects millions of people worldwide.

Photo courtesy of Adam/Flickr
Photo courtesy of Adam/Flickr

The enterovirus is believed to be the root cause of many types of known disorders and diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome, Epstein Barr, chicken pox, herpes, encephalomyelitis, hand, foot, and mouth disease, hepatitis, ADHD, cardiac arrhythmia, and type 1 diabetes and more.

The enterovirus can remain within the human body for years, affecting many different systems –oftentimes inexplicable or undiagnosed.

Polio is a virulent form of the enterovirus which causes irreversible paralysis and permanent disability.

In the U.S. there are currently 160 cases of reported non-polio enterovirus affecting children in 22 states.

Three such cases were reported in San Diego County.

Affecting mostly young school-aged children, there are no reports of death caused by the current outbreak.

Recently interviewed by KTLA5 News, Dr. Pia Pannaraj, an infectious disease specialist, said, “There will be more (cases). It’s just a matter of time. This will spread across the entire country.”

Many children who become infected have a history of asthma or other types of respiratory illness, making them especially vulnerable to this infection.

Photo courtesy of Nick Nguyen/Flickr
Photo courtesy of Nick Nguyen/Flickr

The enterovirus is highly contagious and easily spread by exposure from an infected individual through saliva, feces, sputum, nasal mucosa, touching a person or object, hand shaking, changing diapers, and drinking or eating food and beverages.

Schools are particularly vulnerable venues for spreading the enterovirus infection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the following preventive measures:

-Wash hands often and thoroughly especially after using the toilet or changing diapers.

-Avoid close contact or shaking hands with those who are sick.

-Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces or objects, such as cell phones or computer keyboards, at home, school and work to prevent contamination.

Enterovirus infection may produce symptoms in humans which appear similar to a cold or the flu.

Common symptoms might be as simple as sniffles, sneezes, headache, cough, and low-grade fever.

However, having common symptoms in addition to severe gastrointestinal distress, blurred vision, rash or difficulty breathing could be indicative of needing immediate medical attention.

With no known cure, illnesses caused by the enterovirus are treated symptomatically to ensure maximum comfort until the illness is resolved.

With more serious and advanced infection, hospitalization is likely indicated.

If any family member becomes ill, experiencing symptoms of a cold or flu, it is imperative they remain at home until they are well to prevent the spread of infection to others.

According to the Enterovirus Foundation, 50 million Americans are infected each year.

The Enterovirus Foundation believes that finding new and advanced methods for detecting and diagnosing the enterovirus is both urgent and critical.

To learn more about the enterovirus, or to find out if there should be concern regarding someone who might be infected, contact the Enterovirus Foundation at:



268 Bush Street, #4044

San Francisco, CA 94104

Phone: (415) 393-9558


The Enterovirus Foundation has an excellent website with educational and disease-related information and other insights which could prove extremely helpful.

Donations to further their cause and continue with critical research efforts to raise awareness and find a cure are also appreciated.


Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.

In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.

Copyright © 2014 by At Your Home Familycare

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Laurie Edwards-Tate
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today. Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service. Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home. Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. Follow Laurie and AYHF at www.atyourhomefamilycare.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atyourhomefamilycare, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare