West Midlands hospital confirms 75 new cases of enterovirus

The Directorate of Public Health (DPH) in England has made 75 new cases of disease. Cases of the infection, which is linked to travel to travel hotspots in the Middle East and elsewhere, first…

West Midlands hospital confirms 75 new cases of enterovirus

The Directorate of Public Health (DPH) in England has made 75 new cases of disease. Cases of the infection, which is linked to travel to travel hotspots in the Middle East and elsewhere, first emerged in April.

So far, three people in Wales, four in Scotland and one in Northern Ireland have developed fever and new infection in England.

Other symptoms include high temperature, sore throat, cough, rashes and fatigue. The University College London Hospital (UCLH) has treated six people for the condition, making it one of the most intensive and specialist hospitals in the UK, and providing a diagnostic service to the UK.

Dr Haresh Malani, clinical lead for viral infections at UCLH, said: “With more cases of variant enterovirus D68 likely to be confirmed in coming weeks, it is really important that all those who have been in close contact with anyone who has the disease keep up to date with their flu or respiratory infection symptoms.

“Everyone is highly likely to get this virus but rarely will it cause people to become seriously ill. If you are suffering from symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough and tiredness you should see your GP immediately or call NHS 111 for advice on symptoms that could be a virus, such as colds, coughs and chest infections.

“We have already seen the incubation period for this virus shortened from around a week to a few days, so ideally for anyone who has been exposed to the virus, they should feel unwell in the days before the onset of the symptoms and not get better until 24 hours or more after getting to their GP.”

Up to now, officials have warned the virus can easily spread in the home and anywhere a population may touch. This may include air travel to hot countries where it has been found. The best way to prevent the virus from spreading is to wear a mask, wash hands frequently, take frequent breaks and exercise and avoid contact with those with the virus, children especially.

“Viral infections such as flue and colds are common, but we are concerned that these enteroviruses may cause disease in higher numbers than in the past,” said Dr Theresa Lytton, director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England.

“Only symptoms and two deaths have been recorded this season, but we know it is possible to become infected with these viruses without these events occurring. Our messages to the public and those caring for people with illness include: wash your hands regularly with soap and water or wipes or hot water and dry; if you have cut or fresh open cuts in your skin with a knife or cutlery or suffer from burns, cover these to reduce your risk of infection; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; and in adults, if you have wheezing symptoms ask your GP if you should be vaccinated.”

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