Potential Enterovirus Samples From Across Montana Being Tested, One Case Confirmed
Montana has a confirmed case of enterovirus D-68 a respiratory disease that has been spreading through the U.S. and is now in over 11 states. Epidemiologist Karl Milhon with the Montana Department of Public Health And Human Services says officials are watching the spread of the disease closely, because of its propensity to evolve, but that the public should know that it is nothing new.
"Essentially, enteroviruses are very common," Milhon said. "The CDC estimates that there are 10 to 15 million cases of them per year. This particular subtype, D-68, is not extremely common, but they have records of it going all the way back to 1962."
Milhon says a lot of the reason for the public’s alarm over this disease may simply be better technology.
"It is a little unusual that it has been associated with these clusters in a lot of hospitals of younger kids, but not completely out of the norm," Milhon said. "A lot of our surveillance systems and testing technologies are improving all the time and as a result we are beginning to see these things more clearly than we have in the past."
Milhon says the confirmed case came out of Billings, and that they are now in the process of running tests on many samples from across Montana. One piece of good news is that enterovirus d-68 is very similar to the common cold and can be combated in the similar ways by simple preventative techniques like hand washing.