Enterovirus D-68 cases continue to rise in Alberta

There has been a big jump in the number of people suffering from enterovirus D-68 (EV-D68) in Alberta.

The latest numbers list 93 cases in the province since July — 52 of them are in Calgary.

Alberta Health Services says it’s still not known whether the cases are the same strain that is currently circulating in the United States.

EV-D68 normally causes mild cold symptoms such as fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough and muscle aches.

Most children recover on their own. But in some cases it can cause paralysis-like symptoms, and it has been linked to two deaths in the U.S.

Scientists have identified more than 120 types of enteroviruses, ranging from severe strains such as poliomyelitis and aseptic meningitis to the rhinovirus that causes the common cold. 

At the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, scientists have confirmed there are five sub-strains or “clades” of enterovirus D68 circulating in multiple provinces across Canada.

D68 was first identified in 1962 in California, from four children with pneumonia and bronchiolitis (an infection that clogs the tiny airways that lead to the lungs).

The CDC says it has received reports of D68 regularly since 1987, but the numbers have been very small.

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