The Enterovirus D68 Outbreak: A Public Health Concern

Tammie Lee Demler, BS, PharmD, MBA, BCPP


US Pharmacist. 2015;40(5):22-26. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is a highly contagious viral illness that causes symptoms of respiratory infection. Although this virus is capable of infecting adults and children, pediatric patients with preexisting respiratory conditions such as asthma are at the greatest risk of developing the most serious adverse effects. Pharmacists can play a significant role in promoting opportunities to prevent and limit the spread of infection. They may also offer clinical recommendations for OTC supportive care for mild illness, referrals to confirm diagnosis, and advice to seek immediate medical intervention for patients exhibiting more severe manifestations of this infection. There is currently no vaccine available to prevent EV-D68 infection.


Among the top media stories in 2014, news of the emergence of highly virulent viruses was clearly some of the most disturbing. One of the most notable viral outbreaks in 2014 was responsible for sending hundreds of children to the hospital, alarming parents and putting area schools on high alert for a more immediate threat—a dangerous and potentially deadly illness that could infect school children across the United States.[1] Infection with enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) starts like the common cold and shares similar respiratory symptoms across the course of illness. The clinical presentation of this infection in confirmed outbreaks has ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness, with medical complications often requiring hospitalization and, in some cases, causing death.