Virus Circulating Midwestern States

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Public health officials say they’re monitoring a high number of reports of a respiratory virus in several Midwest states, including Iowa.

Enterovirus EV-D68 begins like a cold with symptoms such as coughing and wheezing, according to the state Department of Public Health. It appears to spread though close contact with infected people.

Dr. Ann Garvey, a deputy state epidemiologist, says this is a common virus that circulates every year about this time. She says the difference this year is that the virus is circulating in higher numbers than usual.

Federal and state officials do not track the number of cases of the virus, so the number of cases reported in Iowa is not known. It’s also been reported in Illinois, Ohio and Kansas.

Most people who get the virus recover at home without complications. Some people with severe respiratory illness need to be hospitalized for further treatment. Infants, children and teenagers, especially those with a history of asthma or other conditions that compromise the immune system, are more likely to become sick.

Infected people should drink fluids, rest and stay home to prevent spreading the disease. Individuals experiencing difficulty with breathing should contact their health care provider.