CDC report finds link between enterovirus D68 and polio-like condition

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

By Linda Carroll

The link between a respiratory virus called enterovirus D68 and a polio-like illness has been bolstered by new research showing a spike in both the virus and reports of acute flaccid myelitis in children in 2018, a new government report suggests.

The report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reinforces previous research that the virus strikes every other year and in the late summer and early fall.

In 2018, 358 of 2,579 tested patients were positive for EV-D68. In the same year, the CDC confirmed 223 cases of the polio-like illness, acute flaccid myelitis. That compares to 2017, when researchers found the virus in two out of 2,433 patients with acute respiratory illness who were tested.

The average age of patients who tested positive for EV-D68 was 3. Almost 60 percent of patients with EV-D68 were male, according to the CDC.

The new report came from a network which tracks acute respiratory illness among children and teens under the age of 18 at seven U.S. medical centers: Cincinnati; Houston; Kansas City, Mo.; Nashville; Pittsburgh; Rochester, N.Y.; and Seattle.