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article imageNew clues about kid's disease enterovirus D68

By Tim Sandle     Nov 15, 2014 in Health
Scientists have mapped that genome of enterovirus D68, taken from patients treated at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The virus is currently causing a series of infections in the U.S., causing severe respiratory illness in children.
Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) has been making headlines across North America, as Digital Journal has reported. The virus causes heightened problems for people who suffer from asthma, especially children. Patients may have extreme difficulty breathing, causing their blood oxygen levels to drop. Many have been admitted to intensive care units and treated with oxygen therapy.
To find out how to stop the virus from spreading and to aid in treating it, the structure of the virus needs to be understood. Scientists based at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have successfully sequenced the genome of enterovirus D68. This was taken from 14 patient samples; each sample was sequenced in order to verify that the structure was the same.
Completing this should help researchers to create effective diagnostic tests; to help understand why this epidemic seems to be producing a severe and unusual disease; and to understand how the virus spreads. Up until 2014 cases of the virus have been very rare. It will be important to understand why incidences have risen and whether there is any cause for this. Whether, in the longer term, any cure can be developed remains to be seen.
With the current series of infections, scientists predict that as the weather cools then the rate of infections will slow. Although EV-D68 is difficult to diagnose, it is no more contagious or rare than the common cold.
The findings have been published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases in a paper titled “Genome Sequence of Enterovirus D68 from St. Louis, Missouri, USA.”
More about Enterovirus, d68, Respiratory, respiratory infections, Lungs
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