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The following respiratory germs are currently active in Utah:
In the past few weeks, we have seen an increase in rhinovirus activity, including cases of acute respiratory illness associated with moderate to severe wheezing in children and young adults. We suspect this increase in illness is actually the result of the virus suspected of sickening thousands of children in 11 states. This virus, known as enterovirus 68 (or EV 68), is similar to the rhinovirus that causes the common cold. EV 68 is so similar to rhinovirus that available laboratory tests can’t readily distinguish the two viruses. As a result, patients infected with EV 68 that get tested, will likely test positive for rhinovirus. However, unlike rhinovirus, EV 68 can quickly progress from what seems like a common cold to more severe respiratory symptoms like wheezing; the whistling sound generated when air moves through narrowed breathing tubes. While most people infected with EV 68 will have mild disease, parents, especially of children with asthma or a history of wheezing, should be alert for the development of troubled or difficult breathing and should seek care immediately should this happen.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a common bacterial cause of respiratory infections in school-age children and young adults. It is active year round at low levels.
Coronaviruses are common viruses that most people get some time in their life. Human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate infection in the lungs and breathing passages. It affects people of all ages, and in older children and adults usually causes only mild cold-like symptoms. In babies and young children, however, coronavirus infections can be more serious and may require treatment, especially if it causes bronchiolitis or another complication.
Adenovirus refers to a group of common viruses that mostly affect younger children. Daycares and schools often have outbreaks of adenoviruses, which can cause respiratory symptoms (sinus or throat problems, cough) and gastrointestinal problems (diarrhea, vomiting). Illnesses are usually mild, but they can sometimes lead to serious problems — especially in babies.
Pertussis is a highly contagious illness that causes spells of uncontrollable coughing. Often these coughing spells end with a deep “whooping” sound as the person tries to catch their breath. Pertussis is a serious illness that can be fatal in infants. There are effective pertussis vaccines.
Unfortunately, outbreaks of this preventable disease are on the rise, due in part to the fact that many children are not vaccinated or are not fully vaccinated.
Chlamydophila pneumoniae is a common bacterial cause of respiratory infection in children between the ages of 5 and 15. Most infected children will have no (or very few) symptoms, others will develop pneumonia. The cough from chlamydophila pneumoniae infection can be long-lasting — between 2 to 6 weeks.