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:
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:
The doctor will ask 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.
Infants and younger children may require careful observation.
Note: Aspirin is not recommended for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with the doctor before giving your child aspirin.
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 via Nemours Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/CookChildrens/en/parents/az-enterovirus.html?ref=search. Accessed August 1, 2016.
About non-polio enteroviruses. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/about/index.html. Updated June 10, 2016. Accessed August 1, 2016.
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 August 1, 2016.
Enteroviral meningitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 8, 2015. Accessed August 1, 2016.
Last reviewed August 2016 by Michael Woods
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.