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Expert: Only A Matter Of Time Before Enterovirus Hits California


A UC Davis health expert says it’s probably a matter of time before cases of the enterovirus strain that’s been hospitalizing patients in the Midwest appears in California. 

Some children at a San Diego hospital are now being tested for the virus. 

The Centers for Disease Control says enterovirus 68 has rarely been reported in the country since it was first recognized in 1962. Enteroviruses can cause rashes or neurologic illness. This one causes breathing problems.  

UC Davis chief of pediatric infectious diseases Dr. Dean Blumberg says enteroviruses circulate around this time of year.

“These outbreaks are probably indicating that throughout North American there are significant susceptible populations and I would expect the same would hold true for California," says Blumberg.

Blumberg says kids going back to school may present more opportunities for transmission. He says handwashing and hygiene are important.

“The enterovirus is very easy to transmit, so there’s no reason to think that it will remain localized," he says. "If there’s outbreaks elsewhere, I would guess that it’s going to sweet through the entire country.” 

Kids with pre-existing respiratory conditions may be more vulnerable to hospitalization.There is no vaccine for the enterovirus. 

-Capital Public Radio News Staff

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