Measles was declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000, but in recent years we have seen measles reappear primarily as a result of people bringing the virus to the U.S. from other countries. During the last decade, we have seen approximately 100 cases of measles per year in the U.S. However, in 2014, there were 644 cases reported, and already this year there have been over 100 cases. Many of this year’s cases are connected to a large, multi-state outbreak linked to an amusement park in California. To date, there has been one case in Michigan (an adult). With all the news stories about measles, it’s easy to be concerned, but knowing the facts can ease your mind.
In late August, Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., began seeing an unusual number of children experiencing respiratory problems. The patients tested positive on a respiratory panel administered by the hospital, but that panel could not identify the specific virus. Staff sent the samples to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for further analysis. The CDC determined that the patients were suffering from Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68).
There are about 100 different types of Enterovirus. From June to October every year, some type of Enterovirus usually circulates in the United States. If you’ve ever had a summer cold, it was probably caused by an Enterovirus. EV-D68 specifically is something we don’t typically see in the U.S., but it has been around since the 1960s.
While we’ve seen an increase in patient volume at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital emergency department and in our Intensive Care Unit, we cannot conclusively say that these patients have EV-D68. The only way to know is to have lab samples examined by the CDC, which we are working on now.