WACO, TX (FOX 44) – The CDC is warning about the spread Enterovirus D68, a common virus seen in children.
While the symptoms are mild like a runny nose and coughing its effects can lead to muscle weakness and even paralysis.
Normally seen in the summer and fall, Baylor Scott and White is starting to see a rise in cases.
“They can present with muscle weakness, and that’s when you have to be aware of those symptoms so you can contact your doctor or go to the emergency room,” said Lizbeth Cahuayme, M.D.
Cahuayme says her colleagues aren’t the only ones seeing the virus.
This year, the CDC has identified more enterovirus cases in children with severe respiratory illness than in the last three years combined.
A rise in cases normally happens every other year, but Cahuayme says this year is different with relaxed Covid guidelines.
“We are seeing that people are getting together. We are not using a mask all the time inside,” said Cahuayme. “So when we cough or we are sneezing, we are having very mild symptoms or maybe no symptoms and we are carrying the virus and are then passing that virus from person to person.”
There is no vaccine for enterovirus.
If untreated, it can develop into pneumonia and in rare cases Central Nervous Disease or Polio.
“We’ve all heard that there has been new cases of Polio. Polio has been eradicated now for several years in this country mainly because we have a vaccine,” said Cahuayme.
“On top of vaccinations, director of the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District Lashonda Malrey-Horne says it’s best to stay prepared to avoid infection.
“Sanitizer for your kids in their lunchboxes or backpacks as they go off to school because alcohol-based hand sanitizer is one of the first lines of defense to prevent the spread of disease,” said Malrey-Horne.
Doctors say other ways to stay protected include consistently washing your hands and wearing facemasks.