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Enteroviruses

Although enteroviruses are not reportable diseases in Oklahoma, the Acute Disease Service of the Oklahoma State Department of Health would investigate respiratory outbreaks, could determine if the cause were an enterovirus, and would recommend measures to control the spread of disease. Enteroviruses are very common viruses that cause 10 to 15 million illnesses in the U.S. each year. These viruses infect the throat and intestinal tract and cause a variety of illnesses.  Most of the time enteroviruses cause only mild illness, if at all.  There are more than 100 types of enteroviruses; they are grouped into Coxsackievirus, Echovirus, Enteroviruses, and Rhinovirus.  Most enterovirus infections in the U.S. occur seasonally during the summer and fall.  Outbreaks tend to occur cyclically, with several-years between.

Most people infected do not get sick or have mild symptoms.  The mild symptoms may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, skin rash, mouth blisters, and/or muscle aches. Some enterovirus infections can cause viral conjunctivitis or hand, foot, and mouth disease.  Most people with enterovirus usually have fever.  Occasionally these viruses can cause more serious illness, such as blood infection (sepsis), meningitis, encephalitis, myocarditis (infection of the heart), pericarditis (infection of the sac around the heart), or paralysis.

Enteroviruses can be found in the respiratory fluids (from the nose and throat) and feces of an infected person.  You can become infected by direct contact to secretions of an infected person, or by touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Basic precautions will reduce or even stop the spread of enteroviruses. 

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers. 
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick. 
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone in the home or classroom or workplace is sick. 
  • Stay home when feeling sick, and obtain consultation from your health care provider.

Enterovirus Fact Sheets and Information:

Enteroviruses fact sheet (121k.pdf)

Hand Hygiene Poster (29k.pdf)

Hand Hygiene Poster: Protect those you love (75k.pdf)

Hand Hygiene Poster: Stop Respiratory Illnesses (76k.pdf) 

External Enterovirus Resources

Enteroviruses (CDC) 

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