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Enteroviruses Factsheet

FACT SHEET                                          ENTEROVIRUSES
Printable pdf file
What are enteroviruses?
Enteroviruses are the second most common cause of viral infections in people.  Enteroviruses are the leading cause of viral infections.  There are currently 64 types of enteroviruses, which cause a wide variety of illnesses with fever, including three vaccine preventable enteroviruses that cause polio.
What are the symptoms of enterovirus illness?
Most people infected with an enterovirus have no symptoms.  Some enteroviruses cause symptoms similar to the cold or flu such as fever, body aches, sore throat and mild to moderate skin rash.  Less often these viruses can cause more serious symptoms such as meningitis (swelling of the spinal nerve cords) or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).  Infants, children and adolescents are more likely to become infected and develop illness from enteroviruses than adults.
What time of year do enteroviral infections occur?
These viruses are most common in the summer and fall.
How soon do symptoms appear?
If any symptoms appear they normally appear from 2 - 10 days after infection.  The usual duration of illness is 3 - 6 days.
What are the complications of enterovirus infections?
Severe headache, backache, and abdominal pain may occur.  Swelling and ulcers can develop in the throat and mouth.  The muscles of the heart can become swollen and, in some unusual cases, “bloodshot” eyes can occur with swelling around the eyes.  The most severe cases can develop meningitis, encephalitis, and a polio-like paralysis.
How does a person become infected with one of these viruses?
These viruses are spread by direct contact with food, water or surfaces that have been contaminated with stool.  Some strains of enteroviruses are occasionally transmitted through the air and can cause a respiratory illness.
How is the disease diagnosed?
These diseases are usually mild in nature and diagnosed based on symptoms.  Blood tests and specific viral testing are available.
How are the infection and its complications treated?
There are no specific drugs to fight these viruses, but some medications can be used to make the person feel better.  Although you can develop immunity to one virus, you can still get sick with any of the other enteroviruses.
How can enterovirus infection be prevented?
Unfortunately, there are no vaccines for these viruses.  Good personal hygiene, especially handwashing before handling food and after using the bathroom and/or changing diapers, can reduce the spread of these viruses.

Fact Sheet: Non-polio Enterovirus

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Enterovirus 68 is a rare strain of non-polio enterovirus.

About Enteroviruses

  • More common in summer and fall
  • About 10 million to 15 million infections in U.S. each year
  • Symptoms can be similar to common cold
  • Infants, children and teenagers most like to become sick when exposed
  • May more seriously affect infants and people with weakened immune systems

How is it spread?


Non-polio enteroviruses can be found in an infected person’s

  • feces (stool),
  • eyes, nose, and mouth secretions (such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum), or
  • blister fluid.

You can get exposed to the virus by:

  • having close contact, such as touching or shaking hands, with an infected person,
  • touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them,
  • changing diapers of an infected person, or
  • drinking water that has the virus in it.

If you then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth before washing your hands, you can get infected with the virus and become sick.

The CDC says pregnant women who are infected with non-polio enterovirus shortly before delivery can pass the virus to their babies. For more information, see Pregnancy & Non-Polio Enterovirus Infection.

What are the symptoms?

Most people who are infected with non-polio enteroviruses do not get sick, or they only have mild illness. Symptoms of mild illness may include:

  • fever
  • runny nose, sneezing, cough
  • skin rash
  • mouth blisters
  • body and muscle aches

Some non-polio enterovirus infections can cause

Less commonly, a person may develop:

  • myocarditis (infection of the heart)
  • pericarditis (infection of the sac around the heart)
  • encephalitis (infection of the brain)
  • paralysis

How can I protect myself?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 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, and
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

How should you wash your hands?

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

What about hand sanitizer?

While hand washing is the best way to reduce the spread of infection, the CDC said hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol can quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands.

When using hand sanitizer you should:

  • Apply the product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.



North Brookfield Jr/Sr High School is part of the VHS Collaborative. 
VHS will add over 200 on-line courses, including both Honors and AP level courses, to our Program of Studies.   
VHS also allows our teachers to have a global outreach by providing instruction for VHS students in other schools..
The VHS Collaborative is associated with schools in 35 states and 43 countries.  It has 800 member schools and 9000 students.
NBHS is very excited to be a part of this collaborative.

VHS Collaborative Course Catalog


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