Enterovirus Surveillance

The enteroviruses are a group of small viruses made of RNA and protein. Included in this group are the polioviruses, coxsackieviruses and echoviruses. Non-polio enteroviral infections are very common in humans, second only to the “common cold” viruses and are more likely to occur in the summer and fall. Infants, children and adolescents are more likely to be susceptible to infection and illness from these viruses. Infections are spread by contact, direct or indirect, with respiratory secretions or stool from infected patients. Most infected people have no significant disease but symptomatic infections are commonly mild respiratory tract infections (“summer colds” or “flu-like illness”) or a febrile illness associated with a rash (hand, foot and mouth disease). A less common manifestation is viral or “aseptic” meningitis. Very rarely, enteroviruses cause severe infections involving the brain (“encephalitis”) or the heart (“myocarditis”).
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