Illness Associated With HEV68 Seen in Clusters Globally

Acute respiratory infections range from mild to fatal

THURSDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Human enterovirus 68 (HEV68), rarely reported since it was first identified in the early 1960s, has recently been seen in disease clusters around the world, according to research published in the Sept. 30 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Stephen M. Ostroff, M.D., of the Pennsylvania Department of Health in Harrisburg, and colleagues investigated clusters of respiratory illness associated with HEV68 reported to the CDC during a recent two-year period.

According to the researchers, between 2008 and 2010, six clusters of acute respiratory illness associated with HEV68 occurred in Asia, Europe, and the United States. Illnesses ranged from mild to severe, and three cases resulted in death (two in the Philippines and one in Japan). Children made up a disproportionate majority of the afflicted.

"Clinicians should be aware of HEV68 as one of many causes of viral respiratory disease and should report clusters of unexplained respiratory illness to the appropriate public health agency," the authors write.

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