Health officials are continuing to monitor an increase of non-polio enterovirus cases in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) can cause mild to severe respiratory illness and is spread like the flu. States with laboratory-confirmed EV-D68 now extend from the West to East coasts.
Local health departments are on the frontlines of infectious disease prevention and control. The 2013 National Profile of Local Health Departments reported that 91 percent of local health departments provide communicable/infectious disease surveillance. Examples of local health departments’ contributions to managing the EV-D68 outbreak include the following:
Collaborating with local, state, and federal partners
The Ocean County Health Department (NJ) is leveraging its existing relationships with the state health department, school nurses, and local hospitals to track and prevent the spread of EV-D68.
The Madison County Health Department (NY) is one of many local health departments that is working with laboratories operated by the state health department to confirm cases.
The Genesee County Health Department (MI) is working with the Michigan Department of Community Health to study an increase of respiratory illnesses that may be related to EV-D68.
Investigating and responding to cases
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (WA) is monitoring local healthcare facilities for increased visits that may be related to EV-D68.
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is responding to a cluster of EV-D68 cases.
The Anderson County Health Department (KY) collected random samples in a local nursing home; seven of the ten samples tested positive for enterovirus.
Communicating with medical providers, local hospitals, the media, and community
Local health departments in Northeastern Wisconsin asked school districts to relay health information about EV-D68 to parents and guardians.
Public Health – Seattle & King County, the Douglas County Health Department (NE), and the Tulsa Health Department (OK) are a few of many local health departments that have included information about EV-D68 on their websites.
A Monroe County Health Department (NY) spokesperson met with the media to allay parents’ fears and discuss what symptoms warrant concern.
The Fairfield Health Department (CT) used EV-D68 as an opportunity to promote flu vaccination.
For more information, visit the CDC EV-D68 webpage which includes answers to frequently asked questions, a map of states with CDC lab-confirmed cases, and health promotion resources.
Related resources: NACCHO has previously documented the critical role of local health departments in infectious disease outbreaks such as cyclosporiasis and fungal meningitis.
About Charlene Kemmerer
Charlene Kemmerer is a program analyst for NACCHO’s Infectious Disease Prevention and Control projects. She works with local health departments on such topics as healthcare-associated infections, antimicrobial resistance, vector-borne diseases, and outbreak response.