Non-polio enteroviruses are a group of viruses that cause infections throughout the body.
In most cases, enteroviruses do not lead to an illness or only cause a mild infection. Rarely, some of the viruses can travel to certain areas of the body and develop into severe, life-threatening infections.
The type of illness that occurs will depend on the location of the infection. For example:
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Enteroviruses are most often passed between people. They may be passed through:
An infant can also be exposed during birth if the mother has an infection.
Not everyone who comes in contact with the virus will develop an illness.
Infants have an increased risk of illness because their immune system has not fully formed.
Children and teenagers have an increased risk of illness due to:
People who have suppressed immune systems are also more likely to develop an illness.
Most people who have an infection do not get ill. In those that get symptoms, the most common include:
Severe symptoms may include:
A baby or young child with enterovirus may be:
You will be asked about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may suspect an enterovirus infection during the physical exam.
If the illness is severe or does not pass as expected, tests may be done to look for the specific virus. The virus can be found through one or more of the following:
In general, there is no cure for an enterovirus infection. Supportive care such as rest can help reduce symptoms until the infection passes.
Antibiotics are not prescribed for viral infections because they are not effective in fighting them.
Note: Aspirin can cause serious complications in some children with certain infections. It is best to avoid aspirin or aspirin products for children with infections.
Infants and younger children may require careful observation.
If the enterovirus has caused a severe infection, hospitalization may be needed. In this case supportive care may include breathing or oxygen support and monitoring.
To help reduce your child’s chance of getting any respiratory infection:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
Caring for Kids—Canadian Paediatric Society
Public Health Agency of Canada
A to Z: Enterovirus. Cook Children’s website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/CookChildrens/en/parents/az-enterovirus.html?ref=search. Accessed February 12, 2018.
About non-polio enteroviruses. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/about/index.html. Updated October 20, 2017. Accessed February 12, 2018.
Coxsackieviruses and other enterovirus infections. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/infections/Pages/Coxsackieviruses-and-Other-Enterovirus-Infections.aspx. Updated November 21, 2015. Accessed February 12, 2018.
Enteroviral meningitis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115792/Enteroviral-meningitis. Updated September 26, 2017. Accessed February 12, 2018.
Last reviewed February 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board David A. Ostrovsky, MD