Non-Polio Enterovirus (Enterovirus Infection)
Non-Polio Enterovirus (Enterovirus Infection) is a type of virus that is very common and there are more than 100 types. Non-polio enteroviruses cause about 10 to 15 million infections in the United States each year. Tens of thousands of people are hospitalized each year for illnesses caused by enteroviruses.
In the United States, people can get infected with non-polio enteroviruses at any time of the year. However, it is more common in the summer and fall. There is no predictable pattern for when these viruses circulate and cause infections and outbreaks. More
In 2014, the CDC reported and investigated nationwide outbreaks of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), one type of enterovirus that can cause respiratory illness with symptoms ranging from mild to severe and affects mostly children. More
Anyone can get infected with non-polio enteroviruses. But infants, children, and teenagers are more likely to get infected and become sick. That's because they do not yet have immunity (protection) from previous exposures to the viruses.
Most people who get infected with non-polio enteroviruses do not get sick. Or, they may have mild illness, like the common cold. But some people can get very sick and have infection of their heart or brain or even become paralyzed. Infants and people with weakened immune systems have a greater chance of having these complications.
You can get infected with non-polio enteroviruses by having close contact with an infected person. You can also get infected by touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. More
people who are infected with non-polio enteroviruses do not get sick, or they only have mild illness.
Symptoms of mild illness may include:
- Runny nose, sneezing, cough
- Skin rash
- Mouth blisters
- Body and muscle aches
Some non-polio enterovirus infections can cause:
- Viral conjunctivitis
- Hand, foot, and mouth disease
- Viral meningitis (infection of the covering of the spinal cord and/or brain).
Less commonly, a person may develop:
- Myocarditis (infection of the heart)
- Pericarditis (infection of the sac around the heart)
- Encephalitis (infection of the brain)
People who develop myocarditis may have heart failure and require long term care. Some people who develop encephalitis or paralysis may not fully recover.
Newborns infected with non-polio enterovirus may develop sepsis (infection of the blood and other organs). But this is very rare.
Non-polio enterovirus infections may play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes in children. More
For information about risks to pregnant women, visit the CDC website.
How It Spreads
Non-polio enteroviruses can be found in an infected person's feces (stool), eyes, nose, and mouth secretions (such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum), or blister fluid.
You can get exposed to the virus by having close contact, such as touching or shaking hands, with an infected person, touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them, changing diapers of an infected person, or drinking water that has the virus in it.
If you then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth before washing your hands, you can get infected with the virus and become sick.
Pregnant women who are infected with non-polio enterovirus shortly before delivery can pass the virus to their babies. For information about risks to pregnant women, visit the CDC website.
Mothers who are breastfeeding should talk with their doctor if they are sick or think they may have an infection.
Non-polio enterovirus can be shed (passed from a person's body into the environment) in your stool for several weeks or longer after you have been infected. The virus can be shed from your respiratory tract for 1 to 3 weeks or less. Infected people can shed the virus even if they don't have symptoms.
To protect yourself and others from non-polio enterovirus infections:
- Wash your hands with soap and water often, especially after using the toilet.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water after changing diapers.
- Avoid close contact, such as touching and shaking hands, when you are sick or when you are with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, especially when you are sick or when you are with people who are sick.
Testing & Diagnosis
Infection with non-polio enteroviruses can be confirmed by laboratory testing conducted by a healthcare provider. Stool or rectal swabs and respiratory specimens (including from the throat) may be collected. Depending on the symptoms, other specimen types, such as cerebrospinal fluid, blister fluid, and blood, can be collected for testing. For more information, see Specimen Collection, Storage, & Shipment.
A positive laboratory test for non-polio enteroviruses from certain specimens, such as rectal or respiratory swab, does not necessarily mean the virus is the cause of infection. Non-polio enteroviruses can be shed for an extended period of time after the symptoms have resolved.
There is no specific treatment for non-polio enterovirus infection. People with mild illness caused by non-polio enterovirus infection typically only need symptom treatment. They usually recover completely. However, some illnesses caused by non-polio enteroviruses can be severe enough to require hospitalization.
If you are concerned about symptoms, contact your healthcare provider.