Rare polio-like virus arrives in Denmark
Over the past five years, 34 Danish children have been infected with a new type of enterovirus named EV71 C4 – more than any other nation in Europe. It’s also the first time the virus has reared its ugly head in the Nordic nations.
The virus, which has even led to the deaths of some children in Asia, is closely related to the polio virus that has been eradicated in most parts of the world.
"The fear is that the virus will settle in the European population and cause major outbreaks in Europe, as we have seen in Asia,” Thea Kølsen Fischer, a professor and doctor with the national serum institute Statens Serum Institute (SSI), said in a press release.
No need to panic
The 34 Danish cases stem from new research results by the SSI, which reappraised the cases of 1,143 patients diagnosed with having an enterovirus between 2009 and 2013.
The highly-contagious virus offers light symptoms such as fever and rashes on the hands, feet and in the mouth, although in serious cases, as shown in Asia, it can be deadly. Most children infected were below the age of five, while half were under the age of one.
Despite the news, Fischer said there was no need to panic as there have only been a small number of cases. Additionally, he revealed, work has begun on an effective vaccine in Asia.