Enterovirus Outbreak Among Children: Is it Our Fault?

As of today, Michigan is the twelfth state to report a spike in hospitalizations among children, likely caused by Enterovirus-68.  Over the past several days, more than a thousand children across 12 states in the Midwest and Southeast have been rushed to the hospital — many put into critical care units — as a result of the infection, which starts out looking like a common cold but quickly progresses into a full-blown crisis where the kids are struggling to breathe.

What is an Enterovirus?

Enteroviruses, which trigger symptoms similar to a very intense cold, actually aren’t unusual at all; in fact, they’re quite common.  Most bad “summer” colds are, in fact, enteroviruses.  There are more than 100 types of enteroviruses causing about 10 to 15 million infections in the United States every year, according to the CDC.  They are carried in the intestinal tract and often spread to other parts of the body.  

So why all the concern now?

What’s unusual right now is the high number of hospitalizations.  For instance, the virus has sent more than 30 children a day to a Kansas City, Missouri, hospital, where about 15% of the youngsters were placed in intensive care.

What’s special about this particular type of enterovirus?

An analysis by the CDC showed at least 30 of the Kansas City children tested positive for EV-D68.  EV-D68 is a type of enterovirus that’s uncommon, but not new.  It was first identified in California in 1962, but then was almost never seen until 2009 to 2012, when there were outbreaks in Japan, the Philippines and the Netherlands, and small clusters of cases in the United States.  Experts say they don’t know what’s behind this recent flare-up.  

What are the symptoms?

The virus can start as just a cold. Symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing and in some cases a rash. They can sometimes be accompanied by fever or wheezing.

How serious is it?

The good news is that enteroviruses usually aren’t deadly.  Some cases could, in theory, contribute to death, but none of the latest cases have resulted in death and no data are available for overall morbidity and mortality from the virus in the United States. 

Are we causing this?

It’s important to remember that enteroviruses are not rare.  So what’s different today, as opposed to 1962?  One big difference is that kids today have a toxic overload:  genetically modified foods … microwaved foods … antibiotics and hormones in meat and dairy … pesticides so pervasive they’re not only on the surface of plant products, but after decades of soaking into the soil, they are now an integral part of every cell inside our fruits and vegetables … heavy metals in our foods … fluoride in the water … and a toxic soup of chemicals in our environment — everything from offgassing of chemicals from our modern electronic equipment, synthetic carpeting, and synthetic fibers in our clothes, to chemicals leeching into our food from our plastic containers. 

Another problem is that kids today are over-vaccinated and have been so sheltered from getting sick that they actually have weaker immune systems than kids of previous generations (Purell and Lysol wipes for EVERYTHING).

And yet ANOTHER problem is that our kids are insanely over-medicated; up to 10% of all school-aged kids in the U.S. are taking some sort of drug for ADHD — for which, incidentally, there is NO clinical test; doctors make diagnoses based on subjective impressions from a series of interviews and questionnaires. 

It’s no wonder that a normally harmless virus would pose such a threat to today’s children whose bodies aren’t as hearty as they perhaps ought to be.