About that disease outbreak in the US #Enterovirus #EV-D68

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This is the time of year parents start scanning their facebook feeds and other sources of information for what to expect our children to get sick with, how badly, and when. For a couple of years in a row, a few years ago, we were getting hit with a norovirus, causing diarrhea, vomiting, and a lot of lost daycare or school days. This year we are seeing reports of an outbreak of the scary-sounding “Enterovirus EV-D68.” Hundreds of kids are sick enough to get treatment in several states, currently Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky. (By the time you read this more will probably be added to that list.)

This virus is part of a large family of viruses that includes a lot of diseases, some pretty benign and some more serious. But the best common name for this particular virus, the one that includes this type of virus as well as several others, is the dreaded “Common Cold.”

This is probably a bit worse than the regular common cold for some people, indicated by the number of hospitalizations, some of which include pretty serious cases. The peak season for this type of virus is September, though it is sometimes called a “summer cold” because it starts to spread earlier in they year. It also seems like this particular virus is spreading quickly and hitting communities with large percentages. But, it is not clear how different than usual this is. CNN quotes Dr. Mary Jackson, an infectious disease expert, “It’s worse in terms of scope of critically ill children who require intensive care. I would call it unprecedented. I’ve practiced for 30 years in pediatrics, and I’ve never seen anything quite like this.” She is based at a hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, where about 15% of the patients who came in have been placed in intensive care, of about 475 treated as of a couple of days ago.

So there are two things you need to know. First, this is probably a normal cold spreading more widely and quickly than other years. Second, there is probably a higher incidence of more serious infections with this cold, so be more vigilant and go ahead and set your parental trigger for calling in your child’s sickness to a more sensitive level.

Image above from here.

And, there are a few things you need to do. First, update your kid’s “cover your mouth when you cough” training. Second, update your kid’s “wash your hands a lot” training. Third, keep your kid home when sick to the extent that you can.

Just to be clear. EV-D68 is not common. When I say it is a version of the “common cold” I mean that it is one of many viruses, a diverse group, that are on the list of things that cause what we call “a cold.” The specific enterovirus EV-D68 might be pretty rare, which may be why reactions to it can be worse. There is a very small number, up until now, of confirmed cases of it world wide, but only a tiny percentage of instances of the common cold are ever tested to see what the exact cause is.

This is the time of year kids (and teachers) go back to school to learn new things and exchange pathogens. Expect a lot more of this over coming weeks.

Personally, I think everyone in the whole world should stock up of food and water and quarantine themselves form all other humans for 14 days. Inside, with a good mosquito net. Imagine how many human-reservoir or insect-human reservoir disease would go extinct!?!? Of course, then no one would have a well developed immune system after a while and we would all die but for a while it would be great!

Have you read the breakthrough novel of the year? When you are done with that, try:

In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden, now in Kindle or Paperback
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79 thoughts on “About that disease outbreak in the US #Enterovirus #EV-D68

  1. Thank you for the histogram of EV 68 over time by month!

    I checked the CDC online. They are well-aware of human enterovirus 68.(EV-D68) which isn’t a surprise, as they are among the very best parts of our government. The CDC post about EV-D68, “Severe Respiratory Illness Associated with Enterovirus D68…” was published today 8 Sept 2014. URL
    Three issues came to mind:
    1. EV-D68 is identified using molecular techniques at a limited number of labs in the U.S. Maybe it isn’t quite so uncommon, but is being tested for more often now than in the past?
    2. Most patients don’t have fever. This is unlike pneumonia, which also causes respiratory distress, or even influenza. I wonder why?
    3. Children with asthma are the most vulnerable to Why do children from 6 weeks to 16 years contract EV-D68 but not adults?

  2. Good questions. A possible answer to the third question is that as individuals get older they are exposed to related viruses and and build up an incidental adaptive immunity to this particular virus. But that is just a guess, it could just have to do with behavior or developmental features of the usually infected tissues.

  3. Any idea why the percentage of enterovirus reports peaks in August? I was under the impression that August is the most common month for family vacations before the return to school in the first or second week of September. If the return to work and school was spreading these infections then I’d expect the peak to occur in October.

    Typically, one requires a GP diagnosis of illness to verify sick leave taken while at work/school therefore I’d expect August to show a dip in reports.

  4. the origins of this virus is Central American? From the illegal children we placed around the country and let them enter our schools? Is this how this started?

    1. There is no Central American connection at all. I think the earliest recognition of the disease, possibly not associated with an outbreak, was in Canada. Earlier outbreaks occurred in the US, Europe and the Philippines. It is probably mainly a northern disease. There are some right wing commenters who are trying to spread around that it was brought by immigrant children, but as far as I know there is no evidence for that.

      So, no.

  5. The theory that the Enterovirus came to America from Latin America (mainly Central America) is supported by a medical study conducted in 2013 at a U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit in Lima, Peru. The study, published in Virology Journal, was entitled “Human rhinoviruses and enteroviruses in influenza-like illness in Latin America”.

    Although Enterovirus EV-D68 had not surfaced here in America in 40 years, the research team concluded that:

    “In Latin America as in other regions, [Human rhinovirus] HRVs and [Human Enterovirus] HEVs account for a substantial proportion of respiratory viruses identified in young people with ILI [influenza-like illness], a finding that provides additional support for the development of pharmaceuticals and vaccines targeting these pathogens.”

    In addition, July 3, 2014 memo from DHS Inspector General John Roth addressed to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson also seemed to confirm the theory. In the memorandum Roth pointed out the following about “unaccompanied children” (UAC) entering the US from Latin America:

    •Many UAC and family units require treatment for communicable diseases, including respiratory illnesses, tuberculosis, chicken pox, and scabies.
    •UAC and family unit illnesses and unfamiliarity with bathroom facilities resulted in unsanitary conditions and exposure to human waste in some holding facilities.

    The government transports the UACs and disperses them all over the country, and demands schools accept them without proper health screeening (disciminatory treatment) combined with the documented UAC hygeine issues and whalla…our kids are suddenly getting exposed to a previously rare (in the US) respiratory disease in significant numbers just after the arrival of thousands of UACs from Latin America.

    It makes sense sometimes to just connect the dots.


  6. K.

    Nope. That study was done of a group of people decades after EV D68 was identified in North America. EV D68 is a small part of the mix of cold viruses (and they are mostly cold viruses) identified in that study. Another virus, much more common in their sampling (I think the most common one) originated in Upstate New York.

    That paper, and the blog post that misinterprets it, are not even close to evidence that EV D68 is from South America.

    So no, you are completely wrong in this, and the assertion is little more than a racist anti-immigrant right wing ploy. Shame on you.

  7. Greg Laden- I understand your reaction but why is it not proper to hypothesize the unprecedented immigration and dispersion of children from Central and South America this summer played a role in the surge of Enterovirus D68? The kids, regardless of their plight, were simply allowed to be relocated within all of the US states without quarantine. The troubling part of this particular virus is that it requires specific testing not available outside of developed countries. I agree with bringing the kids in and but still find it curious and potentially intellectually dishonest to poo poo the idea entirely and call someone a racist right winger. Shame on you for resorting to name calling.

    1. It is possible to hypothesize it. But the origins of the particular not very common enterovirus we are talking about is probably not southern; it has been known for 60 years to the north, sampling in South America shows it to be rare. So the hypothesis is not supported at all by the evidence.

      I am not poo pooing the idea because it comes from the same right wing sources that have been complaining about the disease ridden immigrants for the last several years. I’m poo pooing the idea because it seems wrong based on the available information. I am explaining the origin of the incorrect conclusion that ED68 came from immigration as as a product of the imagination of that particular set of commenters.

  8. Yes, and you gave an evasive answer. That report states that the virus was present in Central America.

    The question is not where this virus first originated.

    The question is, did our government disperse youngsters infected with this virus, who in turn spread this virus? Is that possible?

    It had to happen somehow. If the virus exists in Central America, and people who were infected traveled here, then it is possible, isn’t it?

  9. No, I did not give an evasive answer. I’ll say it again. That recent look at viruses in S.A. shows it is there now. It had been identified in Canada decades ago. One of the most common viruses in the SA study you site is a different virus that happens to come from New York State. Being in SA now does not mean it started there.

    It is found in very low numbers in the study you site and in the same sentence there is a reference to a study that did not find it there.

    Yes, it is possible that someone from South America with the virus travelled to nine states in the US and coughed on several tens of thousands of school children. More likely, it has been circulating at low level across North America and happens to be popping up now. That is the most likely scenario and there isn’t any evidence suggesting otherwise.

    But there is a lot of yahoo hand wringing about dirty brown people from the south coming north and ruining ‘merica. That, however, is not evidence.

    I have no doubt that with Anthropogenic Global Warming lots of nasty tropical diseases will make their way north. Perhaps that is what you are saying. Is that what you are saying?

  10. I also submit this. Although it mentions respiratory illnesses among recent arrivals, it does not cite the specific virus in question.


    So, I submit that it is possible that this outbreak was caused by our government, and that previous report I linked to does indeed mention the virus in question.

    I have no biases here. I travel to Central America and I have friends and family there.

    Your snark about one person travelling to nine states may amuse you, but how about tens of thousands of people traveling to many states?

    Their are mirror dangers here: First, scapegoating immigrants. I agree with you on that. But the other danger is our government withholding information for political reasons.

  11. That was not snark. Well, a little. You are suggesting, though, that thousands of immigrants have a relatively novel disease that is somehow totally flying under the radar, as though the monitoring systems for diseases systematically did not look at immigrants.

    Again, regarding the earlier paper, it really isn’t informative at all, and if anything, suggests that D68 is rare in SA, and the class of viruses looked at contain primarily North American viruses. (That could be for a number of reasons.)

    So, you just gave me a 24 page document that when I do a search does not contain the word “virus” but we are talking about a virus. Is there something in that report you want to point out?

  12. You’re kidding, right? Being a scientific person, you know that the word you searched on is commonly prepended with ‘entero’ and ‘rhino,’ so you may want to expand your search.

    This document mentions virus all over the place, including the virus in question


    The other government document states generally that communicable diseases were detected, and in some cases passed on to agents, in the detention facilities. It specifically mentions respiratory illnesses.

    The virus is not novel, although it has been dormant here in North America, outside a few pockets.

    So, given this factual information, yes, it is possible that our government unwittingly dispersed vectors out onto the US populace.

    I lament that every last issue in our nation is not politicized.

    Our government has screwed up before and lied about it, so why not now?

    I am not into demonizing immigrants; I just want the facts.

    Which is more likely? That this rare virus spontaneously popped up in various disparate locales across the US? Or it was spread by human vectors?

    I am not adamantly insisting that this was spread by human being recently arrived from Central America. I am saying it is a possibility, but many are ideologically determined to quash all such lines of reasoning.

    Have a nice weekend.

  13. No, I am not kidding. I’m not going to spend any time with a 25 page document somebody randomly hands me without explanation. And I’m referring to the PDF file, the “other government document” not the ncbi paper, which I have already discussed at length.

    The second document does not say anything about enterovirus D68, right?

  14. Wow, great discussion for such a topic! I tend to agree w Silverf at this time- seems like common sense. To which states have the latest waves of migrants been deported?

  15. Interesting that the ” common cold” would start killing so many children and adults. So this ” common cold”…do you strove it or just sit back and die. Why is it so necessary for you people to lie to us. Does the truth frighten you that much. It is not the virus that will kill a lot of folks…it is your lying that will kill people. Sleep well my friend!

  16. Jim, the Enterovirus D68 is not a common cold, it is part of a large category of viruses that include the common cold, as well as a number of much more serious diseases. As far as I know the Enterovirus D68 has been associated with only one death.

    A number of kids have had a strange paralysis in recent days (manly, only?) in Colorado. Of them, some have had D68, others not, so the connection there is very unclear.

    Nobody is lying to you. But, there are unknowns and I would want to watch this disease closely.

  17. Greg,
    If the virus was not common in the US for many years, it would be of interest to understand why it has hit and spread so dramatically this year, right. And it would also be reasonable that a few dozen infected people can turn into hundreds or thousands of infected people while on crowded buses, trains, encampments and detention centers. Dispersal of those thousands among all 50 states could easily spread the disease rapidly.

    The DHS and CDC need to clarify soon or this is looking more and more like another Obama admin coverup.
    I also want to know what other diseases have been introduced to US schools and want to understand why these diseases were not important enough for a quarantine period before dispersal

  18. Gene, it would indeed be interesting to know more about how and why this particular virus has spread. I don’t want to say that it has spread dramatically, the numbers are simply not clear. The press is being somewhat dramatic, and the tin foil hat brigade is certainly adding drama, but the disease itself, not so much.

    There are several reasons that a particular disease like this may become common all of the sudden. Do you know what the most likely reasons are? Because you need to know that if you want to explore this issue. Otherwise you’re just kinda playing it by ear and not likely to get it right!

  19. I’m afraid I have to side with Greg. First off, when researching a topic you have to look at the whole picture, not just one paper. Dormant pathogens spring to life because of a number of things, but environment has a lot to do with it, If it has the right conditions, then it will flourish. The US weather patterns have certainly been extreme, especially this past year. I would have to say, it’s part of the natural processes.

  20. A final comment, World Health Org tracks outbreaks reported. The last reported out break of Enterovirus was China in 2008 and it was Hand Foot and Mouth disease, The US is the ONLY country that has reported an outbreak. So if I had to make an educated guess, It started here in the US

  21. Can the virus be dormant in a specific population and when that population is relocated, can the people in the new location be more prone to getting this new virus from the relocated population?

  22. JDRoss: Yes, but the more likely event is the mass movement of people that happens at a modest level all the time and in giant spurts now and then, but several times a year. The D68 outbreak happened pretty much when you would expect it to happen if it was spread around during the summer travel season then incubated in schools as they started up their new semester.

    I promise you that this will be investigated and there will be a good model of what happened, but those kinds of studies take time.

  23. JDRoss has a valid question: could the displaced population be immune to the virus and then expose their new location to the virus thus sparking an outbreak? I have gleaned from the above comments and research presented by other commenters that the virus appears to have originated in Central America.

  24. KMB, you changed JDRoss’s question. If a population is immune to a virus and moves, they do not carry that virus with them. The lowest incidents of the virus will be among the population that is immune.

    There is absolutely no evidence that the virus originated in Central America. It seems to be a North American virus, mainly. At this point we simply don’t know, but the Central America theory has absolutely no support, so it is probably wrong.

  25. Sounds like Greg is the apologist and is willing to ignore even the possibility that this was exaccerbated by the distribution of unscreened youth from a region with less than optimal health indiscriminately and anonymously through all 50 states. His dog whistle term of right wing extremists is the tell. I do not doubt some fring right wing pundits have wondered but I have yet to see or hear that and that from people I think would be raising the question if it was true. So who is willing to put party above the health of our children? At least let’s get some facts and not the cherry picked generalizations he cited. The acts committed by this administration are identical to those who have spread disease throughout history. Let’s at least be willing to rationally look into the possibility, eh?

  26. theduck6: Well, since I just said we don’t know, that leaves open the possibility that the Little Brown Ones theory is correct. But, as I said, there are not indications that it is anything other than an outbreak of a virus that has been circulating at low levels in North America.

    My mention of right wing extremists is not a dog whistle. A simple search of the internet indicates that this is where the “theory” comes from. Just an observation.

    Let me ask you a question: Why would the administration do this? Is the spread of the disease an unintended side effect of a particular immigration policy, or is it the reason for the immigration policy, according to your theory?

  27. Interesting article but I do appreciate Silverfiddle’s and K. Stov’s questioning of the origins of this virus. There is no need to label it a racist right wing ploy. The question is out there and it is not merely among a certain political faction. I myself am not a Republican and I have pondered the same question. So, I see no need to attempt to shame anyone into silence for asking the question that many are already asking themselves. All that is needed is a factual scientific statement to either confirm or dispel any thoughts on the matter.

    Politics has no place in this nor does the worn out accusation of racism towards one who asks the logical question given the secrecy behind the dispersing of so many illegal aliens (and, yes, that is the accurate terminology used by our own federal regulations and laws) who have recently crossed into the U.S. If anything, I think just sticking to the facts rather than political bias and emotional manipulation through shaming would help in avoiding any misinformation that might have been spread.

  28. Susa, I’ve only seen it (outside of comments that provide insufficient context) on right wing tin hat sites. Can you point to a different source of the idea, preferably someone who knows something about epidemiology or disease?

    I agree that sticking with the facts is key.That is exactly what I am doing. The fact is that we don’t know how this disease started to become a thing, but the facts that are available so far seem to suggest a North American origin.

  29. What we know: The virus has been around in the U.S. and Canada for decades, but is still rare in Central/South America.

    Second, the vast majority of people “arriving in places around the U.S.” are actually U.S. citizens (vacationing, visiting family, moving, and conducting business).

    1.) Central/South American countries got the virus from people traveling FROM America to SA, not the other way around.

    2.) EV-D68 is being spread by Americans, from the larger reservoirs in NA which have been around longer than anywhere else.

    Ergo, we have the government covering up the fact that the U.S. is giving EV-D68 to SA children, and it’s U.S. citizens who are spreading it in America.

    Therefore, by the power of tin-hat logic vested in this wizdom, the U.S. Gummit should immediately ban these dirty, disease-ridden U.S. citizens from traveling or immigrating, since they are the cause of all this.

    1. I beg to differ on the comment about Americans being so filthy, but the quick and easy way to get the objective answer to my original question is to lay out a map of where the virus is breaking out using zip codes and a map of where the central American illegal aliens were moved to. That would give you the answer, but we will never get the locations from this administration. I would be satisfied if I saw that.

    1. The timing of the two events just seems too coincidentally. The children were spread out across the country and this virus is popping up across the country within a time frame that could allow the virus to emerge and spread. Just doesn’t add up.

  30. Is there a CDC equivalent in the Central Americas? It seems we are comparing apples to…..nothing. Just because the U.S. can report doesn’t mean it originated here. Not reporting = Not originating; said, Greg.

    1. Yes, there is disease monitoring in “Central America” (though I thought this conversation had until now been about “South America” …. they are not the same thing. There is disease monitoring there too).

  31. Greg, your argument seems to center on “because it was identified in North America decades ago, immigrants cannot be considered a vector for the disease”. That is nonsense. It simply does not follow from the former that the latter must be true. If the strain is common in Central America but rare here then bringing a large number of people here is going to increase the number of vectors for the virus, perhaps by several orders of magnitude.

    You can certainly claim that the current immigrant surge didn’t introduce a new virus to North America, but you cannot claim from the evidence that the immigrant surge didn’t substantially increase the potential for a larger outbreak than we have seen in the past.

    1. No, that is not my argument at all. I am not arguing against the disease being spread by immigrants. I am not adducing evidence against that hypothesis at all. I am simply saying that the hypothesis itself has no evidence to support it, and that a myriad of other explanations exist, some probably much more likely than the immigrant hypothesis.

      I have said nothing or almost nothing about the larger picture of how diseases get around, so your argument against what I’ve said there is a bit odd.

      Personally, I’m very concerned with pathogens moving from tropical or sub tropical areas north. Immigration is one route for this, but the total amount of interregional travel done by Americans to begin with is huge and may have a much larger effect. But even putting that aside, tropical and subtropical diseases will move north, and have been moving north, in the more usual and mundane way of their normal range spreading due to climate change.

      Also, there are major natural vectors that are very important that are affected by climate change. It is probably true that lyme disease (maybe) and other disease spread has been facilitated by the interactions between birds, bird parasites, etc. and long term use of nests. Nests that should have frozen over have not, and this has kept certain pathogens in the system for much longer. Expect a number of tropical and subtropical diseases to move north within or into the US. But be careful about speculating about the mechanism. Getting the mechanism(s) right is important.

  32. This is a factually incorrect statement from Greg Laden:

    “There is absolutely no evidence that the virus originated in Central America”

    I know you don’t want to read the study, but here is the extract for others to look at and judge for themselves:


    This study does not prove that this instance of the virus outbreak was caused by the government sending sick children throughout the US, but it does document that the virus was active at the time of the study. Where the virus originally originated is a red herring to the discussion at hand.

    The “little brown ones” comment is cute, and reveals your agenda.

    Why would the US government do this? Simple negligence. Look around you. The federal government is rife with incompetence, and it knows no ideology or political party.

    “Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

  33. Greg, what I think you are failing to understand is that all an outbreak needs is one person.

    One child coming from Central America could have been sick with D68 and they could have gone on to infect their foster family or the another kid at the park even who took it to school.

    The origination of the illness is irrelevant. What is relevant is illegals or even travelers from abroad causing an increase in an illness our country does not regularly experience. Some children have died and that is cause for concern.

    Now you’ve been on here defending yourself left and right but you made your own bed by going on about some right wing racism instead of stepping back an thinking that there is a distinct possibility that an increase in D68 is due to our governments negligence in dealing with disease. After all they did say Ebola would never get to America and now they are saying there is no way to really prevent it. There is also the whole AIDS thing they could contain either and it’s even harder to get than Ebola.

    Now I know D68 exists in America already but it is regularly contained and limited to very few. We need to know why this is happening now. Is it because we have more kids than ever being born premature who have respiratory issues or is it due to a large migration of illegals coming from a country they don’t normally come in from. Maybe it’s a combination of the two. Have we thought of that yet? Seriously it’s a very good possibility.

    Let’s think about this logically and reasonably. It’s not racist or right wing to say that we don’t want certain diseases in our country and we should do what we can to eradicate the disease at its source instead of infecting the whole world.

    1. I’m not failing to understand anything. I’m going with the data. Right now we can’t say where D68 comes from (in the current outbreak) and there is no compelling evidence pining to “South America” or “Central America” as more likely than anything else, and the idea that it simply emerged from the background is highly likely.

      D68 wasn’t “contained” … it simply wasn’t active.

  34. “Now I know D68 exists in America already but it is regularly contained and limited to very few.”

    That’s an amazing statement! What is the difference between American citizens traveling around the U.S. spreading D68 (which is then “regularly contained”) and illegals from CA/SA traveling to places in the U.S. spreading D68 (which is then somehow no longer “regularly contained”)?

    Possibility #1: The D68 virus is intelligent and malicious, so it only becomes active & hops to someone when it’s in an illegal, but refrains from doing so when it’s in a citizen…

    Possibility #2: The speculators have an agenda that bends logic and reason and ignores established epidemiological data in order to target “undesirables” using this as a convenience…

    Figure the odds… Okay: ~320 million Americans vs ~50,000 children from CA/SA. Which group is more likely to source & spread D68? DO THE MATH people…

    “Let’s think about this logically and reasonably. … we should do what we can to eradicate the disease at its source instead of infecting the whole world.”

    Then we have a politically obvious solution: We must start deporting American citizens to stop this from spreading in the U.S.

    1. Aside form all this arguing, do you have a recommendation on what could be done. I’m willing to write my local Congressman about our school districts attendance policies. I think keeping at risk children at home with written approval from the doctor without attendance penalties could contain an outbreak rather quickly. This would also require working with employers. We all know sick kids go to school because corporations refuse to help out. We also know school districts are desperate to keep kids in school for those precious tax dollars.

      I suppose it doesn’t really matter where this current outbreak started as the CDC isn’t exactly looking for patient zero with bigger things going on right now like Ebola. Even still our country needs better disease management.

  35. What do to? I recommend you do the same things that you do/would do for influenza (kills 50,000 Americans/year — MUCHO more serious than D68), West Nile Virus (averages 100 deaths/year in the U.S.), Hanta Virus (200+ deaths last year, has a 35% death rate), oh, and let’s not forget about rabies, Lyme disease, etc., too… Wait– Why are we singling out D68? These other diseases kill more Americans. Something about complacency due to familiarity?

  36. I’m still not sure how big this is or if it is growing or not. I’d ask your congresscritter what they know about it, that may cause them to ask around and maybe there will more output of info from the CDC.

    Meanwhile everybody should wash their hands a lot more! Seriously! flu season is here, that helps for that too.

  37. “I’d ask your congresscritter ”

    Sadly, a few here in Michigan are pushing the same view one of the earlier commenters was pushing: it’s all the fault of the people coming across the border.

    I’m currently teaching two sections of a basic biostat class kids in our school’s nursing program. Historically these students aren’t the strongest mathematically, but I try to emphasize the interpretations of the things faculty tells me they need to know – if they can explain it (correctly) to each other, to me, and their faculty, they can probably explain it to future patients.

    What’s my point? In the past it’s been quite rare for there to be more than 1 young person in these classes who keeps brining up natural news’ take on things, or items from similar loons or right-wing talking points. I’ve got at least five now, all about this virus (and to a growing extent, Ebola). On one hand it’s made for interesting discussions with them, me, and other students. On the other hand, the increased number is a little concerning. Is it due to the effectiveness of the repeated right-wing comments? Your guess is as good as mine. (The common comment is “Well, it seems possible.”)

    1. Hi Dean,

      I would like to say that mixing politics and medicine is where a lot of information gets lost on people. It goes from giving straight facts to being opinionated about a persons political beliefs.

      Once we drag in the whole who thinks the right way or the left way it turns both sides on the defensive and soon it’s more about political opposition than it is about medicine. Soon educated discussions turn into a Hate fest worthy of TMZ coverage.

      Being misinformed shouldn’t be blamed on ones political beliefs, being misinformed should be blamed strictly on a lack of verifiable facts. Both sides of the political spectrum suffer from their own brand of ignorance and it’s fruitless to try an compare the two because it detracts from the bigger issue here.

      In my utopian society so much truth would be available there would be zero cause for speculation or theorizing on coincidences. Everything would be laid out for everyone to see and members of the media would be imprisoned for detracting from the truth or attempting to stir controversy.

      People like myself speculate not only because it’s human nature but because there isn’t enough information or worse, there is too much of the wrong information. A lack of transparency leaves people like you trying to right the wrong thinking and there are so few of you in a never ending sea of confusion.

      It’s a never ending cycle for sure and we humans are not inherently trustworthy when we feel we are being lied to or information is being kept from us.

  38. I agree: We do need to get politics out of medicine.

    If a person with strong political beliefs that veer significantly from the center seeks “information” only from sources that they know are aligned with their political beliefs, then their being misinformed could be properly blamed on both their political beliefs as well as on their sources (slanted and biased to push that political agenda & ideology).

    For better or worse, Jericho, your “utopian society” doesn’t exist here. Human beings, as a group, are not creatures like Spock, driven by making logical deductions based on verifiable facts which they seek after. Human beings are creatures of emotion, ego, and self-justification, driven by fear, insecurity, the desire to be “right”, and perceived need to “get the other guy before he gets me” mentality — even if pursuing that leads to their own detriment.

    It may be a never-ending cycle, as you say. We who are interested in those verifiable truths (data, studies, etc.) to guide policy do indeed tend not to trust those who seemingly offer “innocent speculations”, especially when we feel we are being lied to or that a political agenda is being kept from us.

  39. Very interesting article and discussion. Even though I lean towards the “filthy kids from SA didn’t cause this” angle, I do think everyone should be open minded and get research to prove or disprove the theory. That is what science does. That said, I was curious as to a few things 1- Since kids suffering from asthma seem to be hit the hardest is it at all possible that the fact that many if not most are taking some steroid based medicine that change their immune systems give them less of a chance to battle this harsher Enterovirus? 2- Have any of you done any work on following up on the 32 states outbreak of mystery rashes that has been occurring since 2001 in school age kids. In some cases with just the 4th graders getting the rash, in other cases 100% girls, etc. There were many with “changed” immune systems post rash and a researcher named Sykes found evidence of genetic material of a parvovirus but not the complete virus, which was weird.

  40. Steroids could certainly affect immune response.

    I don’t fully agree, tough, that a “theory” has to be disproved. It has to have a basis first. I don’t take the “FKFSA” theory seriously because it isn’t based on anything, so I don’t see the point of disproving it.

  41. Thanks for the response. I think fighting fictional science with real science is a far better approach than have preconceived ideas of what the answer is and arguing the point that way. we have enough of that in this country anyway. Most people are reasonable and good but we have become a divided bunch staunch in our positions, seldom challenging them (in my opinion).

  42. Sure, but there are no paisley teapots orbiting Jupiter, so when it is proposed that there is one, there is no need to provide contrary evidence. My arguments regarding the FKFSA theory is simply to say there is no reason to propose it. (people have made up reasons but that simply does not count).

  43. It is pernicious bullshit. Note they cite a top disease expert as NOT saying what they are saying! The number of kids without MMR is very small. And, there is absolutely no information on who has gotten D68 in relation to vaccination history. We don’t even know who has D68. The test is not readily available. The number of confirmed cases has little relevance, a breakdown of bogus data into smaller categories rarely improves it!

  44. Greg Laden is a government hack! It doesn’t matter what you tell him, he will repeat the same song. Our government disbursed these children all over the country after they were “processed”. They were allowed to board commercial flights, trains, and buses. All of this without proper health screenings and treatment. Is it any wonder we are seeing the disease in such staggering numbers? Until something like this personally affects those politically correct people like Mr. Laden, situations like these will continue to be the norm. I don’t think it will be enough for this disease to affect their child(ren) or grandchild(ren) in order for them to WAKE UP and smell what they’re shoveling!

  45. Reports have shown the Enterovirus 68 has been devastating to children as young as 1 years old. If not controlled, it can become another health crisis in the United States. Yet, the virus is not being reported nationally, but only through State and local government. I would like to see more information being reporting on this virus to the public and local communities. How many more children will die or become ill before it’s a major concern? Experts have reported children in over 40 States to have contracted this virus. The virus has mostly affected children who have a weakened immune system, asthma and other respiratory conditions. Experts don’t seem to know why this new strain has surfaced out of nowhere. This seems to make it even more dangerous. Is the CDC conducting studies or research on this virus? Like Ebola, why is the Enterovirus not being considered a threat to the health of children living in the United States? Parents in Hamilton New Jersey, where a child died on Sept 25th 2014 from the virus have been upset with the school districts handling and reporting of the virus. Proper safety protocols were not followed. This virus has caused the death of at least 7 children within the United States with the last case being reported in Arizona. I personally would like to see more awareness in the communities and to see the CDC and health experts being a
    little more concerned about this mystery illness.

  46. The other thing that doesn’t make sense about the immigrant kid theory is this. The outbreak did not start in Texas. If there are thousands of kids arriving at the border, and it is clear that there is sufficient contact to pass scabies and lice, then how could the EV-68 outbreak have not started there? Sure, I know there is the theory of the Immaculate Infection, whereby a kid was hoisted to, say, Kansas City, without affecting anyone on the border.
    It doesn’t hold up to any kind of rationality check.

    1. Keep the politics out of this. It is a rational concern and observations why did this virus appear the same time all the children came up from central america? A year long study was conducted in 2013 and it confirmed that it was active. Do a serious investigation into where the children were relocated to and where it’s active. It’s very simple, but I’m sure it won’t get done.

  47. JDROSS, the very suggestion that this is a thing is a politically motivated ploy. Making that suggestion and asking others to “keep the politics out of this” is laughable.

  48. “why did this virus appear the same time all the children came up from central america?”

    It also appeared the same time I switched from Glenlivet to Ole George whiskey made in Traverse City Michigan. Hmmmmm. I’m sure that figures into it somehow JDROSS – glad your keen mind is on this.

    1. And this is why I rarely join blogs. I make a rational comment and observation, kept it civil, and I get this BS. Stay on point or just don’t comment. How hard is that?

  49. JDROSS #67, read my comment #55… *I* am the one who’s arguing that we should keep the politics out of it!

    BTW, doing a study to establish a correlation between relocating children and where this virus is active is, sorry to break the news, NOT scientific.

  50. All of you searching for evidence that illegal aliens (I refuse to call them “undocumented immigrants”) brought enterovirus d68 into the US: it just doesn’t seem to be there. We in Arizona, where illegal aliens are a real problem, were the only state with zero confirmed cases of EV D68. I know that doesn’t scientifically disprove anything, but wanted to share. I would suggest that y’all accept what expert Greg Laden says.

    There are lots of other diseases e.g. tuberculosis, scabes, chukum…. something-or-other, that a wave of 5 million Mexicans, Guatemalans and neighbors will likely bring with them to the USA. Be on the alert for a myriad of potential public health concerns in the coming months, but not EV D68.

  51. Wow, scabes? Not really a problem now is it. Head lice too, from what I’ve heard – but those are both common to individuals living in crowded conditions with slow-to-arrive medical care – like the holding facilities many children were in before they were moved to other, more humane locations. And – at least here in Michigan – it is the children against whom the tea-baggers and “christians” directed most of their bigotry, racism, and ignorance. But are they hotbeds of illness? Hardly, according to facts.

    TB? Could be a problem, if it were as widespread among the children as you try to imply. As of July there had been only 3 cases reported in Texas and 1 in Arizona (government statistics). Texas traditionally has 1300 cases per year reported: Is Arizona higher than that?

    It is true that Rep. Phil Gingrey from Georgia expressed concern about them bringing measles and similar diseases into the states: but he also said they posed threats for dengue fever and Ebola too, so he should be given slightly less credence on the matter than the pile of crap my dog left in the woods today.

    If the concern is that none of these kids are vaccinated, then

    “The primary care system in developing countries is more effective than in the U.S. — better than people think,” says Irwin Redlener, a pediatrician at Columbia University and co-founder of the Children’s Health Fund, which provides health care to the disadvantaged.
    Indeed, in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, where roughly 80 percent of the children have come from, immunization for measles has 93 percent coverage, according to WHO.

    It was also pointed out that “a very large percentage of the children brought their immunization cards” – but a number was not cited.
    Even so, the children were vaccinated at the holding centers before being distributed.

    Indeed, Border Patrol reports that the most common medical problems among the children have been dehydration, heat exhaustion, and foot/ankle injuries.

    I’m sure the numbers for some of the items mentioned have changed since July, but the only place you will find the dire projections and gnashing of teeth about the severe medical issues are on typical right-wing-racist-make it up as they go web sites. Infowars, Breitbar, theneamerican, michellmalkin, and toprightnews are all especially heinous and nauseating (to decent people) in this regard.

    Where are you getting the 5 million number?

  52. I was responding to your comment #6. Clearly there IS a connection to Central America and the recent EV-D68 outbreak and the large amount of unaccompanied immigrant youth who just came through our southern border. Children were dispersed without medical screening throughout the our country. Any epidemiologist worth his salt would be able to make these connections with the amount of data from studies that already exists. Yet you and the CDC and other Federal agencies are dismissing these facts.

    And what other epidemic is making its way through our country that is rampant in Central American displacement camps? Rubella:

  53. Alex, you are brilliant. A regular Galileo! Have you considered personally going into epidemiology, because you seem really good at it!

    The Rubella outbreak probably comes from Americans traveling abroad. That is how most of these outbreaks occur. In this case, it genetically matches a source in the Philippines. But I’m sure you already knew that because you are such a brilliant expert!!!

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